Status of collective pay bargaining between RSA and IWGB - RSA

Status of collective pay bargaining between RSA and IWGB

Corporate communications

Due to lower-than-anticipated overall income, the RSA’s financial forecast now shows an operating loss for this financial year. Without a sustainable, balanced operating budget, no organisation can grow jobs and increase pay. 

We have set out the RSA’s financial position, clearly and transparently, in each of the ten formal collective bargaining meetings we have held with the IWGB trade union – of which approximately 30% of our staff team are members – since April last year. During that time, acting in good faith and consistent with a balanced operating budget, we have improved our pay offer three times.

Our most recent discussions with the IWGB took place on Friday 1 March 2024 involving ACAS, which we hoped would result in constructive conciliation. Despite the downturn in our financial outlook, we made a further good faith offer to improve staff pay, taking the increase offered for this financial year to an average of 7%. We also recently independently benchmarked pay rates for individuals in the bargaining unit and found them to be competitive.

This offer was again rejected by the IWGB without consultation with our staff team in the bargaining unit, or with their own members. This is highly undemocratic and deeply regrettable. We believe that had the whole of the bargaining unit been consulted on our offer, in line with democratic and good governance principles, there is a strong chance the pay dispute could have been resolved by now.

We also asked the union to pause public campaigning to allow further discussions to take place. Instead, the union have continued their campaign to disrupt the RSA’s operations and the hard work of our staff team. We believe there is never any justification for such actions. They are made worse because they are increasingly being driven by people with no direct connection to the RSA and no interest or stake in our collective success. They are putting at risk pay and jobs for RSA staff.

Having reached this point, it is clear to us that there is no willingness from the union to understand the charity's financial position, to engage meaningfully in conciliatory talks, or to act in line with the interests of the bargaining unit as a whole. We have therefore written to the IWGB telling them that, regrettably, collective bargaining for this financial year is exhausted.

We will now work in good faith with staff representatives to discuss the pay award for the next financial year. We have urged the IWGB to come to these talks with a realistic and resolution-focused mindset, particularly given our financial constraints, in the best interests of our hard-working staff, our charity, Fellows and the wellbeing of everyone who works at the RSA. 

We wrote to IWGB on 5 March 2024 to set out this latest position, view here.