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Tower of London's Renowned Red-Coat Beefeaters Strike for First Time Since 1963

© REUTERS / Neil HallYeoman Warders interact with tourists at the Tower of London in London, Britain, July 20, 2017
Yeoman Warders interact with tourists at the Tower of London in London, Britain, July 20, 2017 - Sputnik International
The action stems from 120 Beefeaters being moved from final salary pensions onto an "inferior" model, the GMB union has said - 91 percent of its members supported a walk-out on a turnout of 88 percent. None of the sites managed by Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity, will be closing as a result.

The Tower of London's internationally famous Beefeaters have gone on strike for the first time in 55 years in a row over pensions. As a result, at 11:30 GMT on December 21 staff (presumably out-of-costume) picketed some of the UK's historic royal buildings, including the Tower and Hampton Court Palace.

"Historic Royal Palaces 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. GMB members still at this late stage are willing to talk to Historic Royal Palaces but the silence is deafening," Michael Ainsley, GMB regional organiser, said.

John Barnes, the charity's chief executive, said the 11 percent of staff affected by the move have been offered "substantial compensation and transition arrangements".

​"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 strike] will not change our decision," he added.

Another action is planned January 2.

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