Beefeaters to go on strike and picket the Tower of London

Beefeaters to go on strike and picket the Tower of London

December 17, 2018

Beefeaters to go on strike and picket the gates of the Tower of London and Hampton Court in a dispute over pensions

  • GMB union said staff at the two ex-royal residences will walk out on January 8
  • Claim their defined benefit scheme could be replaced with an ‘inferior model’ 
  • HRP said it had to close old pensions plan as it was financial unsustainable  

Employees of Historic Royal Palaces, including Beefeaters and jewel house wardens, will picket the gates of The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace in a strike over pensions. 

The GMB union said staff would suffer under moves to close their defined benefit scheme and replace it with an ‘inferior’ model.

It said 91% of its members supported walking out on January 8 after a turnout of 88%. 

Scroll down for video.  

Beefeaters at the Tower of London will picket the gates of the ancient castle on January 8. They are seen here in a file photo 

Regional organiser Michael Ainsley said: ‘HRP are jumping on a bandwagon which is seeing employers engaging in a race to the bottom, ending good final salary schemes and replacing them with risky cheaper defined contribution schemes.

‘All the while the UK government stands idly by at a time when they’re telling the population to save for their retirement and our elderly can’t afford to pay for social care.

‘GMB members still at this late stage are willing to talk to HRP but the silence from HRP is deafening.’

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John Barnes, Chief Executive, Historic Royal Palaces, said, ‘Although we fully respect the rights of Trade Union members to take industrial action, today’s announcement is disappointing. However, it will not change our decision to close the Defined Benefit scheme.

We have already offered substantial compensation and transition arrangements to the 11% of our staff who are affected during a lengthy consultation. 

‘The benefits they have already accrued will be fully protected, and they will be transferred onto the same competitive Defined Contribution scheme as the other 89% of their colleagues in April 2019.’  

The new scheme will affect 11% of staff across the Historic Royal Palaces. Hampton Court Palace (above) is one of the palaces included in the remit. File photo 

Mr Barnes added: ‘The closure of the scheme enables us to increase employer contributions to pensions for everyone by 2% – an offer that is fundamentally fairer to our entire workforce.

‘We do not expect any industrial action to have a significant impact on the day to day operations of our sites. None of our sites will be closing as a result.’ 

HRP is an independent charity that manages some of the UK’s unoccupied royal palaces including the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.  

A HRP source said only five Beefeaters were involved in the pensions scheme out of a total of 37.  

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