National Museum Wales

Amgueddfa Cymru proposes to cut weekend wages

Rebecca Atkinson, 28.03.2014
Staff consulted on changes to premium and severance payments
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.”


Comments

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Anonymous
MA Member
02.04.2014, 23:45
£95, 000 a year, there are some premier league footballers having to survive on that kind of wage each week... People at the National Museum in Cardiff are being put through the mill at the moment. In local authority museums, we are facing similar issues - a one percent pay rise since the credit crunch, anyone over 60 bailing out, threats of redundancy and general uncertainty. meanwhile, like stakhanovites, we strive to outdo last year's PIs on less money and less time.

The museum profession as a whole seems confused on pay:

Some would prefer museums to use more volunteers, not to complement, but to replace paid staff,so threatening jobs and devaluing the professionality of museum workers. Most countries scorn an amateurish approach; here in Britain it is seen as a positive. Unfortunately the track record of this approach is not good.

Others want to attract a wider range of people into the profession with outside skills, yet fail to explain why such people would want to give up well paid jobs to be paid peanuts in our sector. This glaring omission is the reason why BME employment rates remain so poor.

Meanwhile, we are all expected to undertake CPD; while the visitors benefit, the staff who do the training see little financial reward. In many other areas of the public and private sector, pay is linked to CPD, both negatively and positively.

In the longer term, how are we going to attract the people museums need when museum salaries fall ever further behind the cost of living? Relying on vocation, warm words, the odd apprenticeship and fellowship and policy documents only go so far.
Anonymous
02.04.2014, 15:50
This is ironic when at least one director has had a £8000 year pay rise and other senior staff have been upgraded costing the museum a fortune!
Anonymous
MA Member
01.04.2014, 21:43
According to the museum's 2012/13 annual accounts, the director general earned between £95,000 and £100,000 a year (including pension). That sounds like a living wage to me!
Anonymous
MA Member
01.04.2014, 10:28
The fact is, staff members will have less money in their pockets and will get less when and if they are made redundant. It is good that the Museum has gotten into a discussion with the relevant Trade Union bodies but it is also not good for a body to be dependent on government funds when those funds are being cut back. It seems that all public funded bodies including the ring fenced ones are being expected to make savings. If one does look at the amount staff are paid for working sundays and bank holidays it does not seem much, and for some would not actually be necessary unless household economics demanded it (i.e to pay the bills). We all would like to be in work and to have a decent wage, but it is not the total fault of the employer. Museums are not commercial enterprises which gain money from customers and shares. Another concern for staff would be provision for future retirement. Whilst there is that workplace enrollment scheme I suspect that not only will people be expected to retire later but also to rely less on government and employers to fund their retirement. For low paid staff it is completely understandable that top-up payments either from the state or from the employer could be what keeps the wolf from the door. The introduction of a Living Wage is welcome. We are also being subject to inflationary pressures, effecting the cost of living. I also suspect that there will be longer hours on what is essentially a lower take home pay for the lower grades. Contract workers and even whole outsourcing agencies will become the norm. But this is simply as a result of government austerity not Museum policy. Museums unlike commercial enterprises cannot borrow money. They are reliant on tax money, sponsorship and entry charge proceeds. They have to keep within budget. In the light of things, NMW appear to have softened what could be a harder blow for staff. Since there are further cuts in the future I doubt things will get much better. I am sure that the people of Wales and of the UK as a whole appreciate the effort these people put in.
Anonymous
MA Member
31.03.2014, 10:46
I can't be the only one to see the massive irony between cutting the pay of low paid staff and the Director of Amgueddfa Cymru talking about museums tackling child poverty. Remind me again what one of the causes of child poverty is - ah yes parents with low wages.


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