Museum workers strike over pay

Striking staff outside the National Railway Museum. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Workers at Railway Museum are staging a 24-hour strike today (30 August) in a dispute over pay.

The Prospect union said its members at the Science Museum Group (SMG) are taking action in protest at an imposed wage rise of 1.5% for most staff.

The union said it was not the intention of members to close the museums as a result of the action, rather to highlight their concerns.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “The Science Museum Group has some of the highest profile museums in the country and, as beacons of human progress, it is ludicrous that they don’t pay all their workers enough to live on.

“Our members in SMG love their jobs but they cannot carry on with year after year of real-terms pay cuts and that is why they felt they had no option but to strike.

“I’m sure that most of the million or so people visiting SMG museums this summer will be astounded at how poorly its staff are paid, especially when they see that the director’s pay has increased by a third in just four years and his bonus alone last year was more than some workers earn in total.

“It is clear from the accounts that SMG can afford to pay a reasonable wage. It’s time for management to sort this out so our members can get on with the jobs they love.”

The dispute involves workers at the National Railway Museum, Science Museum in London, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Blythe House in London, and the National Collections Centre in Wroughton, Wiltshire.

A museums spokesman said: “Our pay offer included a 6.9% increase for the lowest-paid employees as part of a settlement that saw all employees receive an increase of at least 1.5%.

“Overall the settlement represents a 2.7% increase in salary costs which we believe was a reasonable offer, given the challenging overall financial picture.”

He added: “We firmly expect all our museums to open on the day of the strike and our priority will be to ensure our visitors have an enjoyable day.

“The overall pay settlement represents a 2.7% increase in salary costs, which we believe was a reasonable offer, given the challenging overall financial picture.

“All colleagues received an increase of at least 1.5% and we offered up to 6.9% for those on the lowest salaries.”