Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/900/22707
The Socialist 4 May 2016 |
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Mark Serwotka addressing the strikers, National Museum Wales, 28.4.16, photo by Dave Reid (Click to enlarge)
Wales museum strike solid
Workers determined to stand up to management bullying and pay cuts
Workers at six sites of the National Museum of Wales came out on all-out strike today(28.4.16) in protest at management threats to sack the workforce and impose new contracts that will remove weekend working allowances for museum workers. They will strike on Friday and over the weekend before starting all-out action on Bank Holiday Monday.
Some workers are paid just £15,000 a year and work over 35 weekends a year to achieve that level. They depend on the weekend working allowances and are being threatened with the sack if they do not accept the latest threatened contract from management.
The strike was solid across all six sites and workers gathered at the National Museum for an enthusiastic and optimistic strike rally. The morale was high as they heard PCS speakers including general secretary, Mark Serwotka, condemn the Victorian management tactics as 'the museum that imposed pay cuts on low paid workers'.
National Museum of Wales strikers, 28.4.16, photo by Dave Reid (Click to enlarge)
First Minister Carwyn Jones has promised to intervene after the election on 5th May, but will that be too little, too late?
PCS members are demanding that the National Museum of Wales follows the example of the National Museum of Scotland and settles the dispute: "If it's good enough for Scotland, it's good enough for Wales", declared Mark Serwotka.
Strikers crowded into the PCS Welsh Assembly election hustings after the strike rally where they heard candidates from all the main parties except Ukip and the Liberals. But it was TUSC candidate Ross Saunders who got the loudest applause, for calling for the National Museum of Wales to be brought under Welsh government control from an arms-length status - "they are bloody long arms!" agreed one of the museum workers from the Big Pit mining museum in Blaenavon.
Many workers were critical of Welsh Labour for making so many cuts. "I'm a fourth generation miner and we have fought for Labour, but for the first time I am thinking of voting for another party", said one. Another said that Welsh Labour 'doesn't deserve the title Labour'.
The determination of the museum workers deserves the support of all trade unionists. You can make a contribution to the hardship fund:
Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund
Account number: 20364700
Sort code: 60-83-01
Or via PayPal: http://bit.ly/26eNhvq
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 28 April 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.