Gallery staff's pay should reflect success of Tate Modern 2

02 Sep 2016

Low-paid PCS members working for Tate Galleries have voted overwhelmingly to reject a 1.5-1.7% pay offer and called for management to increase it.

Negotiations on pay began in February this year and concluded in late June when management offered all staff in post currently on entry points or target rates, or between target rate and ceiling, an increase of 1.7%, and all staff currently at their pay band ceiling an increase of 1.5%.

Throughout the negotiations, our reps consistently emphasised that our members, still reeling from the effects of a 7-year squeeze on salaries, had heightened expectations for a greater increase at entry level, target rates, ceilings - and all points in-between - than those achieved in 2015/16. Even with the proposed increases salaries would still only range from £15,707 to £23,695. Reps also stressed that, following the opening of the new Tate Modern, with one million visitors in its first month, members were under increased pressures and demands at work, and should be rewarded accordingly. 

We repeatedly stressed that in the year which would, and now has, witnessed the successful launch of Tate Modern 2 in June - one million visitors in the opening 4 weeks - and the related pressures and demands placed on our members’ shoulders, there was a vital need for investment in staff salaries. Members are saying they should be sharing in the success of the new gallery instead of languishing on low pay levels.

We recommended members, who mainly work in membership services and as visitor assistants, reject the offer in the pay ballot which ran from 8-31 August, as it does not meet the 5%, or £1,200, national PCS pay claim. Members voted 77% to reject the offer on a 65% turnout.

Retail price inflation rose by 1.6% in June this year alone. As well as this, National Insurance contributions have increased on average by 1.6% so this deal represents a pay cut, at best a pay freeze, in reality for many. And a sizeable number of staff at the top of their pay band they will get a one-off payment of just £38 because of the 1.7% rise pushing them through their pay band ceiling.

We have now written to Tate asking them to put more money in the pot and make an improved offer. 

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