Welsh museum workers on all-out strike over weekend pay were voting on a new offer as Socialist Worker went to press. The ballot was set to end this Friday.
PCS union members at National Museum Wales have been on indefinite strike since 28 April over bosses’ plans to scrap weekend premium payments.
Scrapping the payments could mean some low-paid workers lose as much as £3,000 a year.
The offer doesn’t save the premiums but does include large compensation buyouts, reductions in weekend work and a 4 percent pay rise.
The buyout is equal to five years’ worth of weekend premium payments and can be taken as a lump sum, or spread over five years.
Workers also have the option to take the buyout over four years, with pension contribution deductions.
The offer is a huge improvement on previous ones and could not have been won without the all-out strike.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “This massively improved offer would never have been achieved without the principled and dignified stand taken by our members, backed by political support.”
The offer is also an improvement on one presented to strikers last week, with further reductions in weekend work for workers at some sites.
Leading PCS officials are recommending acceptance of the offer.
But some strikers were rightly unhappy about it. Voting to accept will mean that workers no longer get recognition for weekend working once the buyouts have been paid in full.
New starters will not get the compensation, meaning a split workforce until all the existing workers have been paid their full buyouts.
There are also concerns that the offer could commit the PCS to working with bosses to make cuts.
Striker Mike Corbridge is one of those who are unhappy with the offer.
He told Socialist Worker, “For people who have got mortgages and are struggling, five years will come around. We’ll have had our buyouts and we’ll be left high and dry.”
The size of the pay rise is offset by the fact that it comes after years of pay freezes.
Mike said, “We are getting a pay rise—but we haven’t had a pay rise for years.”
He said the offer was much better than workers could have got without striking—and thanked supporters for their solidarity throughout the strike.
He said, “I’m really pleased with the support that we’ve had.
“I hope we can support other people when they fight like we’ve had support from other places.”