Socialist Worker

Museum workers on all-out strike in Wales to decide on a new deal

National Museum Wales bosses have retreated but workers could keep on fighting, argues Nick Clark

Issue No. 2508

Museum workers on all-out strike in Wales

Museum workers on all-out strike in Wales (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Strikers at National Museum Wales have been offered a new deal that contains concessions from bosses.

The PCS union members have been on all-out strike since the end of April.

They are battling plans to scrap their weekend premium payments—which could mean some workers lose as much as £3,000 a year.

Last week bosses put forward compensation buyouts in place of the premiums, plus pay rises and reductions in weekend working. The buyout is equal to five years’ worth of premium payments.

Workers can choose to take this as either a lump sum, spread out over five years, or spread out over four years with pension contributions.

The offer also limits weekend shifts and there is a pay increase of at least 4 percent.

Socialist Worker understands that the offer is better than ones that bosses have made previously. It could not have been achieved if workers had not gone on all-out strike.

It comes after the Welsh Assembly Government intervened last month to broker a deal—putting extra money on the table to fund the new offer.

 

It was the decision to go on all-out strike that has forced the Labour government’s hand. Welsh ministers had tried to keep the dispute at arm’s length for most of its two-year duration.

Only when the workers launched their all-out strike on 28 April did Labour first minister Carwyn Jones promise to intervene.

Offer

But there are also problems with the offer—and many strikers are right to feel that it gives too much away.

If strikers vote to accept the offer then workers will no longer get extra money for weekends after receiving their payoffs.

And new starters will not get the compensation, effectively meaning a split workforce until all the existing workers have been paid their full buyouts.

That’s why some strikers are unhappy with the offer.

Richard from the Big Pit coal museum spoke at a solidarity event in London last Friday. He said, “I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far. Yes, there have been bits and pieces put on the table.

“There may be compromises, but there’s battles to be fought.”

PCS assistant branch secretary Geraint Parfitt explained last week, “Members won’t give in easily.If there needs to be there will be more fight.”

Strikers were set to meet this week to decide their next moves.

The solidarity they have received so far from other trade unionists shows they can expect huge support if they vote to reject the offer. There is still more to be won—and further action could get it.

Donate to the strike fund: Bank: Unity Trust Bank Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund Account number: 20364700 Sort code: 60-83-01. Or donate online

Invite a striker to speak at your branch. Email branch secretary Peter Hill atdennishill20@hotmail.com


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