Union ceases campaigning against RSA as pay offer accepted

16 May 2024 News

The Royal Society of Arts logo

Union members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) have voted to accept an improved pay deal from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) after months of negotiations.

RSA workers went on strike for the first time since the charity was founded 270 years ago in September last year, before taking further industrial action after failing to negotiate pay terms.

The charity and union had criticised each other’s approach to the pay negotiations during the dispute.

A joint statement from the RSA and the union this week reads: “Members of the IWGB working for the RSA have voted to accept an improved offer. This has ended the dispute between the RSA and the IWGB. 

“The RSA and IWGB will work constructively and collaboratively together going forward in the interests of improving industrial relations and in support of the charity's mission, including the union ceasing campaigning against the RSA and its officers with all partners, fellows and others involved in the RSA's work.”

Agreement details

IWGB said the agreement includes pay increases that see the lowest paid workers awarded a 12.71% increase since the beginning of negotiations last year, and an additional one off payment of £500 for all staff in the bargaining unit.

The union added that the two organisations had also committed to assess hybrid working at the charity, with an increase from two days working from home to three, where appropriate.

It said the RSA would also trial quarterly meetings with union representatives to discuss workplace issues and introduce a collective grievance procedure for staff, consulting with union representatives.


RSA denied voluntary union recognition for its staff members at IWGB in 2022, despite previously recognising the union for its work to increase pay for gig workers.

IWGB achieved formal recognition at RSA via a statutory vote in March 2023 and began pay negotiations shortly afterwards.

Last year, an employment tribunal ruled that the RSA had dismissed its former head of policy and participation, Ruth Hannan, for an “unfair reason” related to her union activity and ordered it to pay her £6,959 as a result.

Earlier this year, after a series of strikes, several speakers pulled out of engagements at the RSA in support of the charity’s staff.

In March, the RSA had announced it would no longer take part in collective pay negotiations with staff for what was the current financial year as it forecasted an operating loss. 

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