Science museum in strike ballot

National Science Museum staff are being balloted on strike action after voting overwhelmingly to reject below inflation pay offers for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

Submitted by Steven. on May 16, 2008

The ballot for industrial action will open on Friday May 16 and close on June 2nd

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working for the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI) are furious that a below inflation pay offer has been imposed on them at a successful time for the museum.

Over 85% of PCS members taking part in the pay ballot voted to reject the pay offer. Their colleagues who are members of Prospect also strongly rejected the two year pay offer.

The pay offer was delayed by over a year and most PCS members will actually receive even less than the headline amount of 3% for both years

NMSI, which includes the Science Museum in London, also operates a trading company to generate income, and made an operating profit of over £1 million last year, exceeding its target by over 14% thanks to hard work of NMSI staff.

Its profits are expected to increase substantially in 2008. Staff in the trading company are on worse terms and conditions than museum staff, including having no access to civil service pensions, and also received a significantly below inflation offer for 2007/2008.

Other museums affected are the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, the National Railway Museum in York, and the Science Museum Swindon in Wiltshire.

Ragesh Khakhria, PCS negotiations officer, said: “The pay offer is one of the worst in the Culture Sector at a time when the museum is making significant savings and the Trading Company is generating record profits.

"Our hard working members deserve a better deal and we are asking management to come to the negotiating table to avoid a damaging dispute.”

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, added: “This ballot comes against the backdrop of next week’s annual PCS conference where members will be discussing the campaign against the government’s policy of below inflation pay rises in the public sector.

"Real term pay cuts for dedicated, hardworking staff are a disgrace and it is time that management started valuing their workforce and for the government to review its unjust pay policy.”