Museum boss’ relief at end of strike action

The head of Liverpool’s museums has thanked the public for their patience after long-running strike action came to an end.

Following a six-month battle, Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union members at National Museums Liverpool voted to accept a deal last weekend following a dispute regarding a cost-of-living payment. Earlier this year, more than 100 staff from NML sites began what turned into 60 days of walkouts.

After it was confirmed on Monday the industrial action would end, Laura Pye, director of National Museums Liverpool, said the organisation wanted to move forward.

It was announced in April how it had been expected industrial action would continue into the summer after no progress had been made to break the impasse over pay. The PCS Union launched a campaign last year to secure a one-off payment of £1,500 for staff within the civil service pay remit to support them financially amid the cost of living crisis.

Museum bosses said staff were not eligible as they were not civil servants. An offer of a one-off payment of £250, to be issued on a pro-rata basis, an additional two days’ leave, and a commitment to providing free tea and coffee to be made available in all staff rooms, was rejected in April.

On Sunday, PCS Union members voted to accept an offer of a one-off £1,200 cost-of-living payment, two extra days’ holiday a year and a 35% discount in museum cafes. This will now bring to a close 60 days of industrial action.

National Museums Liverpool was established formally in 1986 to manage the various locations throughout the city that collate priceless artefacts. These include the Museum of Liverpool, the Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum and Lady Lever Art Gallery.

The Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House and World Museum are also managed by NML.

Ms Pye said, “We would like to thank our colleagues, visitors and members for their patience and support over the past few months. We all want our museums and galleries to be fully open and concluding this action means we can be sure that our visitors will be able to enjoy our core offer and experience some of the great new exhibitions we have on over the coming months.”

Fran Heathcote, PCS general secretary said, “Congratulations to our members at NML who through their strength and determination have won this dispute. They stood firm through many months of strike action and have now been rewarded with a significant sum and extra benefits.

“As always, PCS will stand by our members when they’re fighting for better pay, terms and conditions. This victory shows there is power in a union.”

Image: PCS

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