National Museums Scotland and PCS reach £1.2m agreement over weekend working

Patrick Steel, 19.04.2016
£900,000 intervention from Scottish government resolves three-year dispute
National Museums Scotland (NMS) and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have resolved a three-year dispute over the payment of weekend allowances following an intervention from the Scottish government.

The government contributed £900,000 to a total package of £1.2m that will see the museum end weekend working allowances in exchange for one-off compensation payments of between £600 and £15,000 and wage rises of between £221 and £1,634 for the 179 affected staff.

The £300,000 from NMS was found through “efficiency savings and rota changes”, said a museum spokeswoman. The efficiency savings included five voluntary redundancies earlier this year. No further redundancies are planned, she added.

As a result of the agreement PCS has suspended a series of strikes planned each weekend from Easter until the May elections.

Lynn Henderson, the PCS national officer, said: “For us the dispute was always about two things – low pay and ending the two-tier workforce. This deal meets both our objectives.

“This settlement is hugely significant for our members in National Museums Scotland, who have shown that through united and determined action we can win significant results, even in the face of austerity.”

Wales

A similar dispute over payments for weekend working at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (NMW), which Museums Journal reported on last week, is putting the museum’s finances at risk, said its director general, David Anderson.

PCS is running a series of strikes across NMW’s sites every weekend until 1 May.

NMW is using £70,000 from its reserves for every month the dispute continues, said Anderson. “We urgently need to address NMW’s serious financial situation, for the sake of the whole organisation”.

Following the breakdown of negotiations with PCS, the museum’s senior management team is consulting individual staff members over changes to weekend payments, which will be stipulated in new contracts. Staff that do not accept the changes will remain in post but have their current contracts terminated and be automatically enrolled on the new contracts.

The museum has also launched a voluntary redundancy scheme to make further savings.

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