National Museum of Scotland pay dispute settled after 3 years

The dispute has dragged on for three years. Picture: Jane Barlow
The dispute has dragged on for three years. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE Scottish Government has stepped in to resolve a bitter three-year dispute involving the lowest-paid staff at the National Museum of Scotland.

The museum, which was hit by a series of walkouts, has reached agreement over how much staff should be paid for weekend working.

The dispute was about two things – low pay and ending the two-tier workforce

LYNN HENDERSON

Front-of-house staff hired to work at the attraction found they were paid 20 per cent less for doing the same job than colleagues who had worked there for years.

Under the £1.2 million deal, which is largely funded by the government, staff will get compensation of up to £15,000, as well as pay rises of up to £1600.

More than 170 staff were caught up in the dispute, which saw strike action taken regularly at the museum from Boxing Day 2013.

Museum director Dr Gordon Rintoul said: “I am pleased that we have agreed a resolution to the industrial dispute which is satisfactory for all concerned.

“Together, we can now move forward with the important task of providing an excellent visitor experience for all who come to the museum.”

Staff at the museum had previously threatened to strike over the five weekends from Easter to the Holyrood election.

However, the long-running row over pay was resolved after the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union voted to accept an offer from management.

Lynn Henderson, PCS national officer, said: “We are pleased to announce that our members have voted overwhelmingly to accept the offer from management.

“For us, the dispute was always about two things – low pay and ending the two-tier workforce. This deal meets both our objectives.

“This settlement is hugely significant for our members in National Museums Scotland, who have shown that through united and determined action we can win significant results, even in the face of austerity.”

A National Museums Scotland spokeswoman added: “Funding support from the Scottish Government and efficiency savings have enabled National Museums Scotland and the PCS trade union to reach an agreement to buy out weekend working allowances and improve the pay of the lowest paid members of staff.

“The buy-out is a single one-off payment to end the allowances.

“This offer has been combined with a previously-made offer which improves the pay of the lowest paid members of staff.

“PCS membership considered the revised offer last week and agreed the proposals. This brings the dispute to an end and means the planned strike action for weekends during April will no longer take place.”

PCS said members will receive wage rises of between £221 and £1634 and most will get compensation payments of between £600 and £15,000.

brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk