Pay dispute resolved at Scottish Museums

But Wales threat of dismissal over weekend working row

 

Management and unions at national Museums Scotland have resolved their long-running industrial dispute over weekend pay.

But in Wales, a similar row between staff union the PCS and National Museums Wales has led to an ultimatum from NMW boss David Anderson, who has threatened to dismiss staff and re-employ them on new contracts.

The moves followed a series of talks between the PCS and museum chiefs in Edinburgh and Cardiff, which came after series of strikes.  

NMS said that funding support from the Scottish government and efficiency savings have enabled National Museums Scotland and the PCS trade union to reach an agreement which will allow them to buy out weekend working allowances and improve the pay of the lowest paid members of staff.

"The buy-out is a single one-off payment to end the allowances. This offer has been combined with a previously-made offer (December 2015) which improves the pay of the lowest paid members of staff.

The PCS union said planned strike action for next month had now been cancelled.

But talks in Wales have broken down and now National Museum Wales director general David Anderson has warned that staff who continue to resist a new pay deal will be dismissed and offered new contracts.

The move affects staff at seven sites: the National Museum in Cardiff, the National History Museum at St Fagans, Big Pit in Blaenavon, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, the Roman Legion Museum at Caerleon and the National Wool Museum in Carmarthenshire.

Anderson claimed that the union had reneged on a deal brokered by the government conciliation service Acas that would have seen workers affected by the cut getting a 4% pay rise plus an average one-off lump sum payment of £4,000.

 “This is the only legal process that’s available to us. We have no option but to follow the legal form. We will offer staff a new contract on the new terms, which includes the pay rise.

He said that NMW had reached an agreement with other unions involved and had a written agreement with PCS at Acas.

He added that the Welsh Government had made it clear to him and to PCS that it has no more money to give to the museum network.

He contrasted this with the situation in England, where standstill budgets are being imposed rather than cash cuts. “That means that for four years they will have a predictable, stable and sustainable budget to operate within.

“The consequence is that they can plan their development, they can invest, they can improve their services. I’m really worried that we will see an increasing divergence in the quality and scope of service that’s available in Wales through the national museums compared with the national museums in England.”

Shavanah Taj, head of PCS Wales, refuted the claims. She accused Anderson of  “a disgraceful attitude to trade unionism.”

She added, “PCS has always been willing to negotiate, to be constructive and to compromise.”

 

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