Science Museum Group workers’ strike ballot in pay row

Workers at number of top science museums in the North are to be balloted on strike action in a dispute over pay.

Staff at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester are among those being asked to vote along with those at Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum and the National Railway Museum in York.

The ballot also includes London’s Science Museum and the National Collections Centre in Wroughton, Wiltshire.

The union said it followed a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5%.

The Science Museum Group said it was disappointed with the ballot decision.

The union said the move followed the imposition of a 1.5% pay increase claiming workers had suffered a 13% “real-terms pay cut” since 2010.

Sharon Brown, Prospect negotiations officer, said: “Our members in the Science Museum Group love what they do but the cannot carry on with year after year of real terms pay cuts. How can they be expected to provide stability for their families under these conditions? The Science Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in the country – people will be astonished at how poorly its staff are paid.

“For years our members’ pay has risen by less than inflation and the imposition this year of yet another below inflation, 1.5% pay rise is especially galling when the director has seen his pay increase by a third in just four years.

“At the bottom of the pay scale workers are unacceptably still earning well below the Real Living Wage.  Following union pressure other museum groups have committed to become Real Living Wage employers, it’s about time SMG did the same.”

A Science Museum Group spokeswoman said: “We made a pay offer that we believe is reasonable and affordable given the challenging overall financial picture.
“In light of the positive steps we have taken, we are disappointed that Prospect have decided to ballot their members for industrial action.”