National Museum staff plan two-day strike

National Museum of Scotland. File picture: Ian Rutherford
National Museum of Scotland. File picture: Ian Rutherford
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WORKERS at Scotland’s national museum will strike for two days from Boxing Day.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh are taking the action in a long-running dispute over weekend pay.

It is the third Christmas in a row that workers will go on strike.

PCS wants the museum’s management to reintroduce weekend working allowances for all staff.

It says a “two-tier workforce” has been created, with long-serving workers earning an extra allowance for working weekends which has been withdrawn for newly-appointed staff.

Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson said, “This dispute is becoming as much a part of a Scottish Christmas as Still Game or turkey dinner, neither the management of the National Museum or Scottish ministers seem willing or capable of sorting this, each offer platitudes and blame each other.

“We are extremely disappointed that talks have yet again broken down without agreement.

“Our members are now forced to take further action and believe it is now time for the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, to make resolving this dispute her new-year resolution.”

A spokeswoman for the museum said the strike is likely to cause disruption but the full extent will not be clear until Saturday. Visitors are advised to check the museum’s website before travelling.

The spokeswoman said: “In January 2011, National Museums Scotland introduced revised contracts for new staff which do not include weekend working allowances - this is commonplace in the many shops, businesses and other visitor attractions which, like National Museums Scotland, operate seven days a week.

“To introduce weekend payments for these staff would be an additional cost of over £400,000 per year, which in the current public sector funding climate is unaffordable.

“No member of staff has received a pay cut following the introduction of new contracts in 2011 and existing terms and conditions have been preserved for all staff employed prior to this date.”