Museum staff back strike action

Staff at National Museums Liverpool (NML) could walk out after an overwhelming number backed strike action.

Almost 200 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union at NML were balloted as to whether to leave their posts over a pay dispute regarding a cost-of-living payment. A resounding 94% of members have now backed taking direct action during a 28-day vote this month.

A total of 133 votes were cast – 69% of eligible PCS members across NML’s seven sites.

The union launched a campaign last year to secure a one-off payment for staff within the civil service pay remit to support them financially amid the cost of living crisis. It says this has yet to be paid to staff at NML.

The £1,500 payment, which the government was forced to make retrospectively as part of the pay offer for 2022/23, came as a result of this national campaign, which also doubled the original 2023/24 pay offer to at least 4.5%. As a result, it was announced in December that PCS members would be balloted on strike action.

It was confirmed this evening that 125 out of 133 staff voted in favour of walkouts. Just 6% voted against.

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 the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

The Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House and World Museum are also managed by NML. At the time of the ballot being announced in December, NML management said that the decision from the Cabinet Office to award the cost of living payment was unexpected and they had not budgeted for the extra pay.

The civil service pay remit covers pay setting arrangements for civil servants throughout including departments, non-ministerial departments and agencies, as well as for public sector workers in non-departmental public bodies.

Strike action had also been touted at the British Museum and Welsh National Library but was avoided after negotiations. Further details regarding any potential industrial action are expected in the next 24 hours.

The LDRS contacted National Museums Liverpool for comment.

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