Amgueddfa Cymru proposes to cut weekend wages

Staff consulted on changes to premium and severance payments
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales has announced a proposal to cut premium payments for staff who work weekends and bank holidays, and reduce severance payments.

The museum has now entered into a 45-day consultation period with staff and recognised trade unions to discuss the future of these payments. The changes, which are part of a wider programme to make £2.25m of savings, could be implemented next January.

About half of the museum’s employees are paid £54.24 a day on top of their basic salary for working on Sundays and bank holidays, and an additional £30.06 a day for working on a Saturday. National Museum Wales is also proposing to remove the pensionable element of these payments.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said premium payments make up a significant proportion of the take-home pay of lower-paid staff. It estimates that although National Museum Wales is introducing the living wage in keeping with Welsh government policy, the cuts in premium payments mean that 38% of those who will receive the living wage will be worse off.

Neil Harrison, PCS branch chair at the museum, said: “The only staff who are being asked under the change programme to do the same work, over the same hours, with the same responsibilities and duties for less pay are the three lowest grades in the museum.

"The museum has argued about 'fairness' guiding its proposals but no other group of staff are being treated in this way. The inequalities that do exist are of the museum's making – introducing piece-meal and divisive new contracts.”

Amgueddfa Cymru said it would try to mitigate the impact on lower-paid staff by increasing the basic pay and ensuring all staff receive the living wage.

A spokeswoman said: “We are not proposing to take premium payments away completely. However, we have to make some difficult decisions to ensure we stay within our budget, which has recently been reduced by over 10% in real terms, and a further reduction expected over the next two years.”

She also ruled out outsourcing visitor services: "Despite the financial challenges we’re facing, we are fully committed to protecting our staff as much as possible.

“We value the service provided by our staff and want to maintain the quality of service offered to our visitors. We therefore have no plans to outsource at this time.”



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