Royal Museums Greenwich staff set to get London Living Wage by 2022

Prospect strike, 1 January 2018
Front-of-house staff walked out on New Year’s Day and on 17 February

Staff at the National Maritime Museum and other Greenwich attractions are set to be paid the London Living Wage after two days of strike action over pay and conditions.

The climbdown by bosses at Royal Museums Greenwich – which also runs the Queen’s House, Old Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark – follows pickets outside the premises from front-of-house staff who are only paid the legal minimum wage of £7.50 per hour. The current London Living Wage is £10.20 per hour.

Staff will get an initial pay rise to £9 per hour from 1 April, with the museum aiming to pay London Living Wage by 2022.

RMG director Kevin Fewster said in a statement issued to 853: “On 22 February 2018, Royal Museums Greenwich Trustees approved an Executive proposal to implement the London Living Wage.

“It is the Museum’s intention to achieve this over the next four years subject to affordability and sustainability. The strategy will be funded by a combination of plans to increase income, and for cost efficiencies and structural changes.”

The news emerged on Wednesday evening at a Greenwich Council meeting, when an email to staff from RMG director Kevin Fewster was published in response to a question from Greenwich West councillor Aidan Smith, whose branch Labour party has been pressuring the council to intervene.

Prospect strike, 1 January 2018
The museum says it aims to pay London Living Wage by 2022

The all-staff email, sent on Wednesday, read: “The first step in this strategy will commence on 1 April 2018 with an increase in the minimum RMG hourly rate to £9.00 an hour.

“I hope that everyone appreciates the positive approach that the Trustees have adopted and will strive to help realise this goal.”

Greenwich Council leader Denise Hyland said she had written to Kevin Fewster about the issue and “asked the board to reconsider its stance”.

The news was welcomed by Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook, a longtime campaigner for firms to pay a living wage.

“Really pleased to learn that Royal Museums Greenwich trustees listened and determined last week to commit to implementing the London Living Wage,” he said on his Facebook page.

“I urge other organisations within the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site to follow suit.”

Last month, Prospect union organiser Tristram Spencer told 853 that some of the museum’s 100 front of house staff could only afford one proper meal a day under their current pay structure.

Prospect has been approached for comment about the pay offer.

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