This is the latest in a series of below-inflation pay rises which have left workers across the sector with a 13% real terms pay cut since 2010.
The minimum hourly rate has also been increased, which is welcome but is still significantly below the Real Living Wage at £8.70 outside London (Real Living Wage £9.00) and £10.17 in London (London Living Wage is £10.55).
The ballot of members affected opened on 10 June and closes on 1 July.
Senior management salary growth has also vastly outstripped median salary growth.
Between 2014 and 2018 the average full time employed salary at SMG grew by just 1.6% per year while the director’s salary grew by 5.5% per year. In that period the number of people at the SMG earning over £100,000 a year doubled from four to eight.
The last two years of results have also shown the group returning to overall surplus after a period of deficit.
Sharon Brown, Prospect negotiations officer, said: “Our members in the Science Museum Group love what they do but the cannot carry on with year after year of real terms pay cuts. How can they be expected to provide stability for their families under these conditions? The Science Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in the country - people will be astonished at how poorly its staff are paid.
“For years our members’ pay has risen by less than inflation and the imposition this year of yet another below inflation, 1.5% pay rise is especially galling when the director has seen his pay increase by a third in just four years.
“At the bottom of the pay scale workers are unacceptably still earning well below the Real Living Wage. Following union pressure other museum groups have committed to become Real Living Wage employers, it’s about time SMG did the same,” Brown concluded.
SMG covers the following sites:
- Science Museum – London
- National Science and Media Museum – Bradford
- Science and Industry Museum – Manchester
- National Railway Museum – York
- Blythe House – West London
- National Collections Centre – Wroughton, Wiltshire