Strikes to hit six Welsh museums over Easter weekend

Museum staff gathered outside the Swansea's National Waterfront
Image caption Museum staff gathered outside the Swansea's National Waterfront Museum in August

Six museums across Wales are to be hit by further strikes over Easter after talks over a pay row broke down.

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members have protested against plans to stop extra payments to weekend and bank holiday staff.

On Tuesday, National Museum Wales said the union had backtracked on an agreement to ballot members over a proposed resolution.

The PCS said members had "no confidence" in the management.

National Museum Wales has said it is facing a 4.7% cut in its annual grant in aid from the Welsh Government and the weekend payments cost about £750,000 a year.

The closures

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum, in Blaenavon, Torfaen, will be open at 13:00 GMT but with no underground tours on Friday and no underground tours on Monday
  • The National Wool Museum, in Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, will be closed on Saturday
  • The National Waterfront Museum's galleries, in Swansea, will be shut on Saturday
  • Some historic buildings at St Fagan's National History Museum, in Cardiff, will be closed on Sunday
  • The National Slate Museum, in Llanberis, Gwynedd, will be shut on Sunday
  • Treasures: Adventures in Archaeology exhibit and galleries will be closed at Cardiff's National Museum Wales on Monday

Planned strikes were suspended in September after negotiations via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

But National Museum Wales said it emerged earlier this month that PCS would not ballot members on a suggested deal, as agreed in December.

The Museum said it would begin consulting with those affected on an individual basis on 4 April.

"Resolving this dispute is now a matter of urgency for Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales), due to the pressures of a reduced budget," a spokesperson said.

Image caption A small gathering outside the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, Gwynedd, in August

However, PCS said members had voted "overwhelmingly" at workplace meetings to "express their dissatisfaction" with National Museum Wales' senior management and their "refusal to re-start negotiations".

PCS Wales secretary, Shavanah Taj, said: "This dispute has now dragged on for two years and morale is at rock bottom. We understand that the Museum's budget has been cut but don't accept that it should be the 'front-of-house' staff - the poorest-paid in the organisation - who should make the greatest sacrifice, by giving up their weekend pay."

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