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World class heritage – second class pay

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Prospect represents a growing membership of over 10,000 members across the UK’s heritage, culture and arts sector.  ( with over 1200 in Archaeology )

World class heritage – second class pay. Heritage workers deserve better!

On 30th June, Prospect’s Heritage Group launched a cost-of-living campaign to tackle endemic low pay, and often poor terms and conditions within the Heritage sector brought into sharp-relief by the current high inflation backdrop of rising food, energy, fuel, and commodity costs.

We’re calling for increased recognition and appreciation of the social, cultural, and economic value the sector brings; and for increased and more flexible funding models to deliver improvements to low pay levels, a lack of pay progression mechanisms and career development, and often poor employment terms and conditions.

Resolving these issues are crucial at a time of such high costs-of-living but is also pivotal to safeguarding the future heritage workforce skills pipeline to ensure the heritage industries are resilient into the future.

Ensuring that careers within the heritage sector are attractive for people of all backgrounds is vital to improving sectoral workforce and audience diversity and inclusion so that our cultural institutions and natural environment are accessible and can be enjoyed and appreciated by all.

In this awareness-raising stages of the campaign there are three quick and easy actions you can take now to really help give momentum to the campaign – this is vital if we are to generate the kind of bargaining power and lobbying influence to deliver real change.

  1. Download and share our short briefing paper

This sets the background to the contrast between the high value the sector represents to the economy coupled with the high level of qualifications, knowledge and skills of the workforce compared to the very low wages across the sector.

The campaign pages and our research briefing paper can be found here: where you can also catch up with our case studies and short pieces to camera from Heritage Group delegates at the Parliamentary campaign launch event.

  1. Complete our survey on the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on heritage sector workers

This will provide an important evidence-base in support of our bargaining and lobbying to deliver the campaign aims and will only take a few minutes. Responses will be anonymised.

The survey is open now and will close on Friday 19th August.

Please share the link with any non-members in your workplace so we can get a high level of response. Sharing the campaign details is also a great way to get non-member colleagues involved to help the campaign and hopefully encourage them to join the union so we have increased bargaining power and influence within the workplace and across the sector overall.

The survey is here:

  1. Write to your parliamentary representative

We’d really appreciate it if you could write to your representative to ask them to use time over the summer recess to visit heritage institutions in the constituency and speak with workers and hear first-hand about some of the issues stemming from low pay and the impacts of the current cost-of-living pressures.

As Heritage matters are a devolved matter in Scotland and Wales, we recommend members in Scotland and Wales write to their MSP/Assembly member rather than their MP, but you could do both. We have prepared a template letter (link attached) which just needs you to add your name and basic details and your constituency politician’s name. You can find the details of your political representatives and how to contact them here:, just enter your postcode and click on your representative(s) name.

Building the campaign

By taking these three short actions, you’ll be helping to build and deliver the campaign to bring real positive change and to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis pressures increasingly being felt across the sector.

The survey results will be published into a further report to be published in the early autumn, which, building upon the lobbying of political representatives and awareness raising actions, will then provide a solid bargaining platform at workplace and industry levels to help deliver real change.

World-class heritage deserves world-class term and conditions

Together we can deliver that and build a sustainable, diverse, and inclusive future for the heritage industry that properly recognises and rewards the skills, knowledge, and expertise of members, so I hope you will join in and help support the campaign.

Ben Middleton (Heritage Group Secretary)


Attachment: 2022-00591-Leaflet-booklet-World-class-heritage-–-Second-class-pay-report-Version-30-06-2022 (1).pdf (application/pdf)
Attachment: Heritage members template letter to politicians.docx (application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document)


The more members we have, the stronger our voice

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