St Fagans: National History Museum, which is part of National Museum Wales

NMW weekend pay compensation to come from acquisitions fund

Patrick Steel, 28.06.2016
Strikes end after agreement between NMW and union
The Welsh government has contributed £300,000 towards compensation payments to end strikes at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (NMW), but £269,000 a year for the following four years will come from NMW’s specimen purchase grant, a capital fund from the government.

The funds will compensate NMW workers following an agreement to end premium payments for weekend working.

Currently NMW receives £538,000 a year to purchase acquisitions and for expenditure related to relocating buildings to St Fagan’s National History Museum.

From 2017-18 to 2020-21 the museum will receive £269,000 a year as specimen purchase grant, with the balance of £269,000 being added to its revenue funding.

An NMW spokeswoman said: “The museum’s capital budget funds elements of our work such as scientific field work, match funding for art acquisitions and the construction of buildings at St Fagans National History Museum.

“We will review our plans and decide which elements of our work we can progress and which ones are put on hold for now.”

The museum reached an agreement with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) on the future of weekend working allowances for museum staff after the intervention from the Welsh government to help fund the compensation payments.

Under the agreement, affected staff will no longer receive premium payments for weekend working, but will be eligible for compensation worth five years of allowances and pension protection for five years.

Premium payments for bank holidays will continue, and NMW staff on the lowest pay grades will receive a 4% increase in basic pay. The museum has also offered assurances that there will be no compulsory redundancies for staff until 1 April 2017, and that NMW will begin a joint review of weekend working with its recognised unions.

A ballot of PCS members saw 78% vote in favour of the offer.

The agreement ends the two-year dispute between the museum and PCS, which has seen a series of strikes culminate in an indefinite strike since 28 April.

The PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “This resounding vote brings to an end an incredible campaign by museum staff who can be very proud of what they've achieved through standing together and refusing to be bullied.

“They are truly inspirational and I pay tribute to each and every one of them, and they can now go back to the jobs they love with their heads held high.”

David Anderson, NMW’s director general, said: “I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement with PCS, and therefore all our recognised trade unions, on the cessation of premium payments, and the dispute has come to an end.

“Our immediate priority is to bring the staff - those who were on strike as well as those who stayed in work - together again around our services and core aims as an organisation.

“This must be one of the most challenging times the museum has ever faced and our financial position remains extremely serious.

“I hope we can now move forward together to try and secure a stable future for NMW for the benefit of our nation.”

The Welsh government’s economy secretary, Ken Skates, who is also responsible for culture and heritage in Wales, said: “Earlier this year we promised to help bring this dispute to a successful close and I am delighted to say that we have.

“Our approach to assisting NMW has been two-fold. We have worked with the museum to help it identify further ways it can use its current grant in aid as well as providing an offer of additional funding.”