Further walkouts by PCS members, starting on 6 February, are to take place at 3 famous sites managed by the charity Historic Royal Palaces which has chosen to attack staff pensions.
Our members held a well-supported walkout on 21 December over plans by the independent charity, which manages six of the UK's unoccupied royal palaces, to close its defined benefits pension scheme to future accruals and move the 120 staff who are members of the scheme into a defined contribution scheme. This will result in our members receiving, in some cases, massively less pension than they had been promised.
Members, whose roles include heads of departments, Yeoman Warders, admissions, security, retail, IT and conservation at the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace, are set to walk out for 4 hours at all sites on 6, 16 and 21 February between 11am and 3pm on each day. The action on 6 February is the same day as the anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.
Two other planned 3-hour walkouts earlier this month had been suspended due to negotiations being opened between the trade union side and the independent charity. We met with the employer who made a revised offer which was discussed at members’ meetings this week. The outcome of the meetings was a clear rejection of the latest offer and some agreement around what an acceptable offer would look like, including a demand for a 15% employer contribution and a lump sum, the current payments amount to over 30% of salary for each in the DB scheme.
On Wednesday we wrote to HRP chief executive John Barnes to tell him that our members had rejected the charity’s offer but also to formally ask for further negotiations to take place as quickly as possible. We explained the conversations we had at the members’ meetings and expressed that a deal would need to include 15% regular employer contributions.
Urge your MP to support the campaign
The campaign to fight for our members’ pensions at Historic Royal Palaces could be debated in parliament.
Our parliamentary group chair Chris Stephens has tabled early day motion 1920 which raises concern about the plans. It also notes the “negative financial impact this will have on those who are currently in the defined benefits scheme, with some receiving substantially reduced pensions”.
Support members taking strike action by contributing to the PCS Fighting Fund.