The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester

Strike ballot opens at Science Museum Group

Alex Stevens, 11.06.2019
Prospect moves after below-inflation pay decision
The Prospect union is balloting its Science Museum Group (SMG) members on strike action following a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5%.

The union says that the SMG’s workers have had a real-terms pay cut of 13% since 2010. It also highlights that the organisation's increased minimum hourly rates remain below the Real Living Wage (RLW, as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation), at £8.70 outside London (RLW £9.00) and £10.17 inside the capital (RLW £10.55).

The ballot opened on 10 June and will close on 1 July.

Sharon Brown, a negotiations officer at Prospect, said: “For years our members’ pay has risen by less than inflation and the imposition this year of yet another below inflation, 1.5% pay rise is especially galling when the director has seen his pay increase by a third in just four years.

“At the bottom of the pay scale workers are unacceptably still earning well below the Real Living Wage. Following union pressure other museum groups have committed to become Real Living Wage employers, it’s about time SMG did the same.

“People will be astonished at how poorly its staff are paid,” added Brown.

According to the SMG’s annual report for 2017-18, the latest available, director Ian Blatchford was paid between £170,000 and £175,000 in that year, with a performance-related bonus payment of £20,000-£25,000. IThis compares to the package of £148,837 including bonus he received in 2013-14, a real-terms increase of around 19% over the four-year period.

A spokeswoman for the SMG said: “We made a pay offer that we believe is reasonable and affordable given the challenging overall financial picture, which included additional increases for the lowest paid roles.

“In light of the positive steps we have taken, we are disappointed that Prospect have decided to ballot their members for industrial action.”