Staff at national museums and heritage organisations will be among the 100,000 civil servants taking part in a one-day strike on 1 February.
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members in 125 government departments across the UK have voted to strike over pay, job security and pensions after reaching the necessary 50% voting threshold.
These departments include museums and heritage organisations such as Historic England, National Museums Scotland and the British Museum.
The action will be the largest civil service strike for more than a generation and is intended to signal a “significant escalation of industrial action” after months of strikes in targeted sectors.
PCS says its members are campaigning for a 10% pay rise in light of the cost of living crisis, as well as pensions justice, job security and no cuts in redundancy terms.
The strike will be coordinated with action by other unions, as well as the launch of a Trades Union Congress campaign on pay and jobs, which will include events in several UK cities.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery Heritage Fund told Museums Journal that while the organisation could not predict how many of their workforce would be striking as staff are not obliged to declare this, 139 out of 320 total staff were members of the PCS Union. The spokesperson added that the organisation has plans in place to manage services and does not expect the action to disrupt operations.
A British Museum spokesperson said: “This industrial action is part of a nationwide dispute across the public sector and focuses on matters that are common across the sector and outside the control of the museum.
“We have a carefully rehearsed operational plan in place to respond to any staff shortages on the day. That plan prioritises a safe and secure opening of the museum on a phased basis. We will endeavour to keep visitors informed of any disruption on our website with updates throughout the day.”
Meanwhile, a new strike ballot has begun at Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales after the 50% threshold among 230 members was not reached, meaning no action could be taken.
Museum, culture and heritage bodies affected by the PCS strike
- British Museum
- Creative Scotland
- Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport
- Historic England
- Historic Environment Scotland
- National Galleries of Scotland
- National Lottery Heritage Fund
- National Museums Liverpool
- National Museums Scotland
- National Records of Scotland
- Royal Botanic Gardens Kew