Prospect members in the British Library have rejected their pay offer for 2019/20.
In a ballot which closed in early November, 77% of those who took part voted to reject the offer, 23% voted to accept it.
The base pay offer was 2% of the paybill which included: a £595 underpin or an increase of between 1% and 1.5% depending on which was the higher, based on performance marking; Living Wage Foundation minimum salary and a one off, extra day’s leave at Christmas 2019.
BL has agreed to reopen discussions and meet the unions at the end of November.
Although annual pay increases are linked to the civil service pay guidance, the British Library is included in museum freedoms that enable it to offer increases beyond the guidance.
The unions submitted a joint pay claim in July which included:
- a 5% increase to the pay remit, with a minimum £1,200 fully consolidated increase for each individual
- an increase at least in line with RPI to all pay band maxima and minima
- Living Wage (as defined by the Living Wage Foundation) to underpin all pay policies and contracts
- a commitment to explore a reduction in working hours to reflect the fact that many staff are working long hours and/or continue to do more with less and take on more work with no recognition of the impact on them
- an additional non-consolidated, one day’s annual leave to take over the Christmas break and
- removing the link between pay and performance appraisal ratings.
BL said it had secured agreement from Department for Culture, Media and Sport to increase the paybill for this year by 2%, it also said it would use a formula based on performance scores for individual staff.
As the offer fell far short of the unions’ claim, Prospect asked BL to put a business case to the DCMS for a larger pay increase for its staff. BL refused and said the available money would remain 2% of the paybill.
Prospect negotiator Brian Harris said: “Following our ballot, we have agreement to reopen discussions. I am hopeful we can agree a better deal for our members within the British Library. However, the 77% vote to reject shows the strength of feeling about what was a sub-standard offer from the employer.”