The strike, the first ever taken by members of the museum’s archaeology service, saw site supervisors and members down tools resulting in the closure of at least 10 archaeological sites around London.
Staff from the museum and its archaeology service, represented by the Prospect union, formed lines outside the museum on London Wall from 8am and presented members of the public with leaflets explaining why they felt forced to take industrial action.
Prospect negotiator Dave Allen said: “Our members regret any inconvenience caused but feel that they have no other option than to take industrial action.
"Today’s strike demonstrates the strength of feeling among our 200 members at the museum, not only over a derisory pay offer, but against the stranglehold of the Treasury which is preventing the museum from offering a fair reward to retain the specialist staff it relies on.
“The response from the public has been very sympathetic. They understood that our members, most of whom are on lower incomes, face the double whammy of an effective pay cut at a time when living costs are soaring.
“The museum has argued that there is a strong business case for a substantial pay rise but the government has refused to listen. Our members fear yet another low pay settlement will compound problems of low morale, recruitment and retention at the museum and have taken action today to defend it.”
Prospect members at the museum were among hundreds of public sector workers who took part in today’s Speak up for Public Services TUC rally at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster.
Archaeological sites in the capital closed as a result of today’s action include digs at Treasury Green, Westminster College, Barton House, New Inn Broadway, St Bride’s Street, Crosby Square, Swan Lane, Hackney Marshes, Cannon Street station and Stratford High Street.