Three sites closed in NMW strike

Dispute over proposed cuts to weekend and bank holiday pay
Patrick Steel
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Three Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (NMW) sites closed last week after members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) went on strike over proposals to cut premium payments for weekends and bank holidays, and remove the pensionable element of these payments.

92% of PCS members voted to support the strike action, on a 57% turnout, and the strike was supported across all seven of NMW’s sites, a PCS spokesman said.

The strike, from 12 noon to 2pm on Wednesday 18 June, saw Big Pit National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, and the National Slate Museum close during the action, while strikers were present at NMW’s four other sites.

Neil Harrison, PCS branch chair at NMW, said: “We have delivered an emphatic response to management proposals that would see the lowest-paid staff doing the same work, over the same hours, with the same responsibilities and duties for less pay.

“And removing the pensionable element of the remaining premium rates would make this a lifelong pay cut, affecting staff's final salary pensions.

“Museum bosses now need to take heed of our members’ concerns and come back to us with revised proposals.”

An NMW spokeswoman said: “We are naturally disappointed by the industrial action that took place, as no decisions have yet been made regarding the future of additional allowances paid to staff who work weekends and bank holidays.

“However, we were able to limit the disruption to our visitors by keeping four of our seven museum sites open to the public throughout the day.

“We have been meeting regularly with trades union to discuss premium payments and hope these conversations can now resume, so that we can try and reach an agreement on the way forward.

“Like most other public sector organisations, we are operating within a reduced budget.

“As a result we have to make difficult decisions, which have already affected a number of staff over the last 12 months.”

The strike is the latest in a series of industrial actions following a major restructure at NMW last year, in which 23 permanent posts were made redundant, with a total of 134 jobs affected, including staff on fixed-term contracts that were not be extended or renewed.



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