Striking staff are members of the UK’s largest civil service union, the Public and Commercial Service Union, known as the PCS. Striking staff are amongst 100,000 members who voted in favour of industrial action in the week beginning the 13th February.
Around 100 workers at the museum, including those in visitor services and security, are striking during English schools’ half-term week. The museum’s programme of holiday events and activities was cancelled as a result. It remained open to visitors for the first four days of the strike, albeit with restricted gallery access, and without information desk, ticket desk, box office, and cloakroom services. The museum decided to close temporarily on the 17th, 18th, and 19th February, the final days of strike action.
This comes after previous strike action forced the closure of the British Museum, the Museum of Liverpool, and Scotland’s National War Museum on February 1st.
More than 86% of workers who took part in the PCS’ ballot voted in favour strike action. The ballot was prompted by a pay rise offer of only 2% from the government. Members are seeking a pay rise of 10%, in line with inflation.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, stated that, “If the government was serious about resolving the dispute, ministers could resolve it tomorrow. Instead, they’re shamefully hiding their heads in the sand, hoping we’ll go away. We won’t.”
The strike will be followed by another national walkout by PCS members on the 15th March.