Statement on the RSA Union - RSA

Statement on the RSA Union

Corporate communications

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) gained statutory Trade Union recognition for the RSA’s more junior staff in December 2022. They are recognised for collective bargaining in respect of pay, hours and benefits.

We have been in a period of negotiation with IWGB for the across-the-board pay award for this financial year for the group of staff they represent (the bargaining unit). We have not reached agreement at this stage.

Our aim is to do the very best we can to support our staff team and their well-being, while at the same time ensuring the financial sustainability of the RSA both of which are essential to our success. We must comply too with our legal obligations as a charity.

As directed by our Board of Trustees, and after a number of years of running operating deficits (due in large part to investing over £2million of reserves during the Coronavirus pandemic to preserve jobs), financial sustainability means the RSA running a balanced budget on a sustained basis, without accessing our limited reserves. We have communicated transparently throughout negotiations with union representatives the need for any pay increases to be affordable within the financial constraints of our charity and our contractual pay policy.

Acting in line with the budgetary constraints we face, the average pay increase offered to staff in the bargaining unit for the current financial year is approximately 7%, well above the rate of inflation. We made further offer to the union in December, which was rejected.

Pay awards include those made for promotions, performance pay, and an increase in our minimum salary to £25,500 per annum which is around a third higher than the National Minimum Wage and in excess of the London Living Wage. All eligible staff (excepting the Executive team) have received at least a £1000 pay increase this financial year. In December 2023, the average salary for staff represented by IWGB is was £35,240 per annum.

We continue to urge the union to engage in conciliatory discussions (including facilitation by ACAS) with us so that concerns can be resolved quickly and amicably in the best interests of our charity, our exceptional staff team and our Fellows.

Update in response to IWGB announcement 14/02/24

The RSA has a tremendously ambitious social change mission, Design for Life, and has made fantastic progress towards realising that mission over the past two years. Two essential ingredients for doing so are the well-being of our staff and the financial sustainability of our organisation, which is why both are a key priority for us.

We have been in collective bargaining discussions with the IWGB trade union (of which a minority of our staff are members) for some months about a pay claim for this year. The following principles have consistently underpinned our approach:

  • We have done everything we can on pay subject to maintaining the financial stability of the RSA – in practice, that means running a balanced operating budget on an on-going basis.
  • We have always approached collective bargaining conversations in good faith, with numerous formal meetings and more informal conversations with staff and IWGB representatives to share information openly and transparently. We have also repeatedly offered use of Acas for conciliation.
  • We made a pay offer which is outlined in the above statement. We have also recently independently benchmarked salaries for members of the pay bargaining unit and found them to be competitive.

To meet the ambitious goals of our mission, and protect pay and jobs across the organisation, we are reliant on the continuing growth of our partnerships, fellowship, exceptional programme of public events and our hospitality offer at RSA House.

The actions encouraged by the IWGB this week are completely at odds with those objectives. They are also contrary to the collective efforts of the overwhelming majority of our staff, Fellows and partners, who are dedicated to the RSA’s social change mission.

Should you require more information please contact: [email protected] with any queries.