PCS Liverpool museums strike. Photo: Liverpool Socialist Party
PCS Liverpool museums strike. Photo: Liverpool Socialist Party

Steve Ion, Merseyside Socialist Party

Strikes by Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members at the seven constituent museums of National Museums Liverpool have continued strongly, with more than 200 workers striking and well-attended picket lines. Their demand is simple: for the £1,500 cost-of-living payment authorised by the government in June 2023 and still unpaid by museum management.

Socialist Party members, working with allies in the PCS Broad Left Network (BLN) – an organisation within the union that seeks to unite socialist reps to build a fighting, democratic PCS – organised a BLN-called rally in support of the strike on 28 March.

More than 30 pickets attended the rally, which was addressed by Matt Exley, branch officer of the PCS National Museums Liverpool branch, as well as Dave Walsh of Liverpool Trades Council and Dave Semple, Socialist Party member and BLN candidate for PCS Vice President in the union elections beginning on 18 April.

Matt laid out the basic fairness of the workers’ case against the employer, which has more than sufficient funds to pay out the £1,500. Initially claiming that it did not have any money, the employer moved to a “final offer” of £250, then a further “final offer” of £500, then another “final offer” of £750, during the six weeks of strike action already taken.

Matt, warmly welcomed the support given by the BLN to the dispute, with BLN supporters in regular attendance at pickets.

Dave Walsh outlined the proud labour history of the city of Liverpool and the need for maximum unity of working-class people in the face of further attacks on workers’ rights. He explained how the developing crisis of capitalism is now moving into the open, with a recession in Britain’s economy now a matter of public record. He cautioned that workers will need to be on guard even should Starmer’s Labour be elected, as Starmer had ditched most of the pro-worker and pro-environment policies of Jeremy Corbyn.

Dave Semple gave full solidarity to the dispute from the BLN’s national steering committee. He put forward a number of possible routes forward for the dispute but insisted that the basic attitude of the PCS left to the dispute had to be that the fight continues until victory.

He stated clearly that any attempt to impose a settlement on the National Museums Liverpool branch by the union’s National Disputes Committee or National Executive Committee would be opposed by the BLN, and that, should there be a decision by the branch to escalate the dispute, BLN would give the Liverpool museums workers full support.

A number of strikers showed an interest in the BLN at the end of the meeting.

The strike continues until 14 April

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