Dispute Over Cost of Living Payment Leads to Prolonged Closure of Liverpool Museums


Museums in Merseyside will be closed for eight weeks after more than 200 workers walked out in a dispute over a cost of living payment.

Strikes by members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will see venues operated by National Museums Liverpool (NML) shut from 17 February.

Workers said a promised one-off £1,500 cost of living crisis payment had not been paid.
NML said all funding available was "put into consolidated rises".

The strike action will see the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, International Slavery Museum, Maritime Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House, and the Lady Lever Art Gallery close.

The union said last year that more than 130,000 PCS members, including those working at NML, took strike action over pay, which resulted in a rise of at least 4.5%.

The union said there was also the promise of a one-off £1,500 cost of living crisis payment.
The PCS claimed NML is the only one of 207 employers not to have honoured the payment.
"We have tried our hardest to resolve this dispute, but we have been met with a straight 'No' from the employer," PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said.

"Our fight is not with those people who visit the museums - it's with those who undervalue our members' passion, skill and knowledge at work.
"It's time for NML to pay up and recognise the contribution our members make to the economic and cultural wellbeing of Liverpool."
In an online statement Director of NML Laura Pye said it was "deeply regrettable" that strike action was going ahead.

She said NML had "committed to work with our recognised unions over the last four years, to improve our pay and conditions for all colleagues" and had "never planned a one-off, non-consolidated payment".
She said money had been put into consolidated rises, prioritising the lowest paid staff, and added that a one-off payment of £1,500 was "simply unaffordable" and would "threaten the long-term sustainability" of the museums and galleries.

"We remain optimistic that things might change, and whilst we're in this difficult dilemma, and our position leaving us with no straightforward way ahead, the Board and I are fully-committed to continuing to have open and honest dialogue to end strike action if possible, and as soon as possible," she said.
The strike action is planned to run until 14 April.

Source BBC