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Shakespeare’s Globe tour guides vote for strike action

Shakespeare's Globe in London. Photo: Lance Bellers/Shutterstock Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: Lance Bellers/Shutterstock
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Tour guides at Shakespeare’s Globe have voted overwhelmingly to strike following an ongoing dispute about pay.

A ballot of the 38 BECTU members working at the venue, which was scrutinised by the Electoral Reform Services, found that 31 were in favour of a strike, with one voting against and six abstaining.

BECTU now has to take action within 28 days, or repeat the ballot. It has to give the Globe seven days’ notice for any planned strike action.

The dispute with the theatre goes back to the end of last year, when the union submitted a pay claim for a rise from £11.24 an hour to £13.50 an hour for the tour guides, alongside further increases over the next three years.

The Globe declined to make a counter offer. It has maintained throughout the dispute that it pays guides competitively. The theatre also said it would be conducting its own pay review in the summer, with any potential increases coming later in the year. It has previously told The Stage the pay demand was “unrealistic” for an unsubsidised venue.

Last month, BECTU carried out a consultative ballot of its members, in which 100% of those taking part voted in favour of a ballot over industrial action, including a possible strike.

The official industrial ballot, which closed on April 1, has now concluded that the guides want to strike to see their pay increase.

BECTU national official Pat Styles said: “The mandate from our members is clear and unambiguous, and unless the Globe moves swiftly to engage with us to negotiate an increase in tour guides’ pay, industrial action is looking inevitable.”

He urged the theatre to “put aside their futile attempts to sidetrack our members with the benchmarking exercise they are so keen on, and focus on the issue our members want resolved”.

A spokeswoman for the theatre told The Stage that it was “in correspondence with the guides about their pay claim”.

She added: “We are now awaiting a response from either the guides’ representatives or BECTU outlining their intentions with regards to any plans for industrial action.”

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