Staff Industrial Action Persists Amid Pay Dispute at National Museums Liverpool

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The rift between employees and National Museums Liverpool (NML) shows no signs of abating as workers prepare for a fresh wave of strike action, slated to extend well into the summer months. This escalation marks a continuation of the ongoing dispute over pay, casting a shadow over multiple cultural venues across the city.

Starting tomorrow, the first of 30 days of industrial action is set to commence, promising disruptions at prominent cultural landmarks including the World Museum and Museum of Liverpool. The catalyst for this sustained protest lies in a deadlock between staff represented by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union and NML management regarding a cost-of-living payment.

The genesis of this confrontation traces back to earlier this year when over a hundred NML staff members initiated strike action in response to the contentious issue. Picket lines swiftly materialised outside key NML sites following a resounding mandate from PCS Union members.

Despite months of negotiations, the chasm between the two parties remains unbridged. The union’s campaign, initiated last year, seeks to secure a one-off payment of £1,500 for staff falling within the civil service pay remit. This financial cushion aims to alleviate the strain of the escalating cost of living, a burden exacerbated by stagnant wages within the culture sector.

In a bid to defuse tensions, NML management tabled an alternative proposal, offering a one-off payment of £250, additional leave entitlements, and the provision of complimentary tea and coffee facilities in staff rooms. However, this overture was summarily rebuffed, with union representatives decrying it as “derisory” and insufficient to meet the financial exigencies facing their members.

NML’s spokesperson lamented the protracted nature of the dispute, expressing disappointment at the perceived inadequacy of NML’s counteroffer. The spokesperson underscored the financial hardships endured by museum staff, emphasising the transformative impact a substantive payment could yield for workers grappling with mounting debts and meagre wages.

Founded in 1986, National Museums Liverpool oversees a constellation of revered cultural institutions across the city, including the Museum of Liverpool, Maritime Museum, and International Slavery Museum. The collective closure of these venues during weekends, announced in anticipation of the impending strikes, underscores the gravity of the impasse gripping NML.

NML’s director issued a sombre reassurance to patrons and employees alike, affirming the institution’s commitment to constructive dialogue while lamenting the inevitability of weekend closures. The director underscored the financial constraints constraining NML’s ability to accede to the union’s demands, asserting that the proposed payment would imperil the institution’s fiscal solvency.

As the spectre of industrial action looms large, stakeholders on both sides of the divide remain entrenched in their respective positions. While NML invokes the spectre of budgetary constraints and implores government intervention, union members stand resolute in their demand for equitable remuneration commensurate with the challenges they confront.

The forthcoming strike action, scheduled to unfold over a series of dates spanning May, June, and July, threatens to cast a pall over the cultural landscape of Liverpool. With picket lines poised to encircle NML venues, the resounding clangour of discord reverberates through the corridors of these hallowed institutions, underscoring the enduring resolve of workers to secure a fairer deal.

In the absence of a swift resolution, the protracted standoff risks exacting a toll not only on the vibrancy of Liverpool’s cultural tapestry but also on the livelihoods of those who serve as its custodians. As negotiations continue and battle lines harden, the fate of National Museums Liverpool hangs in the balance, emblematic of broader fissures within the cultural sector that demand redress.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
Founder | Head of PR Sam is a valuable asset to News Write Ups with his extensive knowledge in online PR, social strategy, e-commerce, and news websites. He brings industry-leading expertise and has a track record of delivering successful campaigns for clients. With his skills and experience, Sam plays a key role in ensuring that News Write Ups stays ahead of the competition and continues to provide high-quality content and services to its readers and partners.

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