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Shakespeare's Globe Tour Guides Threaten Strike for Wage Increase

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Mar 13, 2015 02:39 PM EDT

Trouble is brewing over at the historic Shakespeare’s Globe. After a dispute over tour guides pay at the venue, the Globe has been given seven days to avert strike actions.

Backstage union BECTU is demanding a pay increase for 37 of its members working as tour guides at the Globe. The union has proposed a three year pay deal. In this deal, they are hoping to raise the pay rate from its current position at £11.24 per hour to £15.16, beginning in November 2015, with a backdated pay claim of £13.50 coming into before that. The rate would rise to £16.82 in November 2016, and then to £18.50 by November 2017.

According to the BECTU website, the staff at similar venues who perform the same role make significantly more with employees at the BBC receiving £14.89 per hour and the Royal Opera House receiving £27.40 per hour.

So far, the Globe has not taken any action toward this new movement, though they did say they hope to have a discussion with the union. However, in a recent interview with The Stage, they said that the pay demand was "unrealistic" for an unsubsidised venue.

The BECTU is also arguing that staff at the Globe are now required to perform extra duties that they never before had, which contribute significantly to their workload. New duties include security support at the gates, training for tours for visually impaired visitors and standing in for absent members of staff at tour points, visitor services and Globe Education.

“No additional pay has been granted for this heavier workload. The increased amount we are asking for in this pay deal takes into account the significant extra responsibilities we have,” they say on their website.

The union carried out a ballot last month with its members. 100% of them have voted in favor of a ballot over industrial action, which includes a possible strike.

Ballot papers will be sent out on March 18 and will close on April 1.

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TagsBECTU, Shakespeare's Globe