Dispute over weekend pay continues at NMS

Union calls for new staff to be given weekend-working allowance
Polly Foreman
Unresolved disputes over weekend work allowances triggered a third year of Christmas period strike action at National Museums Scotland (NMS).

More than 100 staff members belonging to the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) took part in two days of industrial action on 26 and 27 December 2015.

All areas but the entrance hall, restaurant, museum shop and the Grand, Animal World and Imagine and Discoveries galleries were closed.

The union argues that the museum is failing to compensate recently appointed staff with weekend working allowance, meaning that staff employed after 1 January 2011 are effectively receiving 20% less than colleagues doing the same work.

Alex Lawrie, PCS branch chair, said in the run up to the strikes: “We are extremely disappointed that talks have yet again broken down without agreement. Our members are now forced to take more strike action but they have demonstrated at meetings that this action will get overwhelming support.

The museum expressed regret that PCS chose to take strike action at what is usually such a busy time.

An NMS spokeswoman said: “In January 2011, National Museums Scotland introduced revised contracts for new staff which do not include weekend working allowances- this is commonplace in the many shops, businesses and other visitor attractions which, like National Museums Scotland, operate seven days a week.

“To introduce weekend payments for these staff would be an additional cost of over £400,000 per year, which in the current public sector funding climate is unaffordable."

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