GMB London call for top up pay for Barbican furloughed staff

Dirk Ingo Franke, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Download as PDF

By not topping up pay to the London living wage, which it can afford, the City has thrown its lowest paid and most diverse group of workers under a bus says GMB London.

GMB London, the union for local authority staff, is calling on the City of London Corporation to top up pay of its lower paid staff at the Barbican complex,  currently on furlough, to 100% of pay as was the case during the first lockdown. 

City of London has decided that the lower paid workers at the Barbican during the second lockdown will not get a top up on the 80% provided for by the Job Retention scheme. 

These include over 400 workers including the front of house staff, gallery workers, box office staff, technical crew, audience experience staff, creative learning, retail and bar staff and other casualised roles throughout the organisation"

Other staff at the Barbican are on full pay.

Anna Lee, GMB London officer, said:

"From July this year the Barbican Centre enjoyed a successful phased re-opening, allowing thousands of Londoners to enjoy art, music, online events and cinema in a safe, healthy environment. 

“It is hoped to be able to soon do it again. The frontline staff - gallery workers, audience experience, front of house staff, box office, crew and all the others have the expertise to make this happen.

“The City of London announced that it would not top up pay during the second lockdown as it had done during the first lockdown.  It gave lower paid staff less than a day to accept these terms. 

“So terms for non-contracted casual staff are the 80% granted through the government's Job Retention Scheme. 

“By doing this the City has thrown its lowest paid and most diverse group of workers, the people that the public sees on every visit, under a bus. It could well afford to pay the full rate.”

Neil Sowerby, GMB Barbican Healthy & Safety Rep, added:

"The new furlough arrangements are not fair to casual staff who were not rota'd during the re-opening period for any reason (lack of available hours or personal circumstances). These are being designated "leavers", refused furlough altogether and invited to re-apply for their jobs later. This includes staff who were furloughed under the original agreement in June. This should be looked at again. 

“The City of London is committed to the London Living Wage. 80% of the London Living Wage is not a living wage.

“Frontline staff deserve to be recognised, with 100% of their furlough being honoured as it is for all other employees of the Barbican & City of London."


Contact Anna Lee 07870 176720 or press office 07921 289880