'We've been really flexible' - Why Liverpool museum staff will continue strikes into summer

The new action will result in members walking out on 11 weekends and half term week.
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Striking workers at National Museums Liverpool are to extend their industrial action into the summer. Almost 200 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) were balloted as to whether to leave their posts over a pay dispute regarding a cost-of-living payment before Christmas.

With the initial industrial action at an end and no resolution in sight, the union has confirmed members intend to stage further action for an additional 30 days until July. Staff at the NML sites have already taken 56 days’ action over the non-payment of a cost-of-living bonus. This led to widespread gallery closures affecting:

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  • Museum of Liverpool
  • World Museum
  • International Slavery Museum
  • Maritime Museum
  • Walker Gallery
  • Sudley House
  • Lady Lever Art Gallery

Cass Burgess, PCS Branch Secretary, told LiverpoolWorld: "In negotiations with the employer we've been really flexible ... We've looked at potentially a package of support that would be as good as the £1500, such as potentially providing a meal allowance on shift or extra leave, or whatever would help to alleviate peoples financial worries. We're looking at anything that is related to the cost-of-living."

Although there has been some progress in negotiations, an acceptable settlement has not yet been reached, and the members have voted to take further action. The new action will result in members walking out on 11 weekends and half term week from May until July.

Earlier this year, Laura Pye, director of National Museums Liverpool, responded to the industrial action, stating the organisation did not agree with some of the strikes taken and ‘greatly value’ its ‘loyal staff’.

In a statement, Ms Pye said: “While this has yet to be resolved and we have been given notice that more strikes will take place, we are committed to continuing to have meaningful discussions with PCS Union, which will be supported by Acas. We have taken great joy and strength from seeing the many visitors come through the doors of Museum of Liverpool and Lady Lever Art Gallery over the past several weeks, and thank people for continuing to support their museums and galleries.

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“We hope that the dispute can be resolved in the near future for both the enjoyment of our visitors and the people that give National Museums Liverpool its heart – our colleagues.”

If the new strike action goes ahead, it will hit two new exhibitions – Bees: a story of survival at the World Museum from May 4-6 and National Treasures: Velazquez in Liverpool in the Walker Art Gallery on May 11 and 12.

The full list of strike dates is May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31, June 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30, July 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21.

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