England

Workers at top science museums go on strike over pay

The strike in London Image copyright Prospect
Image caption Staff at museums popular with families have gone on strike at a time when children in some parts of the country are off school for half term

Workers at a some of England's most popular museums have gone on strike in a dispute over pay.

Staff from top science museums around the country have taken industrial action calling for "a reasonable wage".

The dispute involves tourist attractions, including London's Science Museum and York's National Railway Museum.

The Science Museum Group said all of its museums were open as usual with most activities available to visitors.

A group of Prospect Union workers gathered outside the Science Museum, waving flags, brandishing banners and chanting for "fair pay".

Industrial action has been taken by members of the Prospect union, which said 25% of Science Museum employees earn less than the "London living wage".

The pay dispute also involves the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Blythe House in London and the National Collections Centre in Wroughton, Wiltshire.

The Prospect Union said a series of pay rises below the rate of inflation had left workers with a "significant" real terms pay cut of 10% since 2011.

Image copyright Prospect
Image caption The walkout follows a previous strike at the end of August

"Our members in the Science Museum Group love their jobs but they cannot carry on with year after year of uncertainty and real terms pay cuts," said Prospect negotiator Sharon Brown.

"Science Museum Group has some of the highest-profile museums in the country and it is ludicrous that they won't just start paying all their workers enough to live on and commit to doing so in the future."

Image copyright Prospect
Image caption The Science Museum Group said pay would be a "priority in next year's budgeting decisions"

In a statement, the Science Museum Group said all employees had been offered a pay increase of at least 1.5% with the lowest paid employees getting an increase of 6.9%, "which we believe was a reasonable offer given the challenging overall financial picture".

Science Museum Group said it had committed to pay the "real living wage" from April 2020.

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