Science Museum Group workers' strike ballot in pay row

Stephenson's Rocket steam locomotive sits on display at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry Image copyright Christopher Furlong
Image caption Union members at science museums are to be balloted over industrial action

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

Prospect members who work at London's Science Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester are among those being asked to vote.

The union said it followed a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5%, which was "galling" when the director had had his pay increase by a third in four years.

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

Union members working at Bradford's National Science and Media Museum, the National Railway Museum in York and the National Collections Centre in Wroughton, Wiltshire, will also be asked to vote on industrial action in the next few weeks.

'Poorly-paid staff'

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.

Prospect negotiations officer Sharon Brown said it was "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'.

"The Science Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in the country - people will be astonished at how poorly its staff are paid."

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."

The "real living wage' rate was devised by the charity Living Wage Foundation to reflect what people need to spend to feed, clothe and house themselves.

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