More than 1,000 City of London Corporation workers have commenced a 24-hour strike today (25 May) in a dispute over pay.
The number consists of more than 250 Unite and more than 900 GMB members, of which 77% voted for strike action earlier this year. The workers are employed as security, police staff, grounds maintenance and administrative functions.
Picket lines were set up outside a number of tourist attractions and other venues, including the Barbican Centre, Tower Bridge, the Old Bailey, London Metropolitan Archives, Smithfield Market, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, City of London School for Girls, and the London Port Health Authority.
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According to the unions, the strike was launched as a result of the City of London Corporation imposing a lump sum pay increase for 2022-23, worth on average around 5%, which they stated was lower than the current inflation rate. The unions claimed that the corporation reneged on a previous pay agreement regarding wages during 2021-22.
A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “Our 2022-23 pay award gave all full-time employees at least £2,300 extra. Our one-off winter payment of £1,000 provided in October gave real, practical support to all our staff to help them cope with the cost-of-living crisis. This amount has now been confirmed as consolidated into base pay during 2023-24.
“The minimum pay increase awarded last year meant our lowest paid staff, those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis, received an increase of over 12%. Through talks with the unions and Acas, we sought to find a solution acceptable to all, and we regret that this was not possible.”
Anna Lee, London region organiser at GMB, added: “It’s a scandal they have to close major tourist attractions just to get their voices heard by City of London Corporation bosses. GMB calls on the City of London Corporation to properly value and respect their staff and return to the negotiating table.”
Nick West, regional officer at Unite, said: “The City of London Corporation can clearly afford to pay them a reasonable rise. This is on top of it reneging on the previous pay agreement, leaving staff with no pay rises at all through tough times. It needs to get back to the negotiating table and put forward an offer our members can accept.”