Pay victory for museum staff following five-day strike

Workers land up to 10.5% pay boost after action

Nearly 100 employees at the National Coal Mining Museum for England (NCMME) have won a pay increase of up to 10.5% following five days of strike action, says UNISON today (Wednesday).

Workers at the museum include ex-miners who keep the heritage of the coal industry alive for a new generation by giving talks and tours of the underground tunnels at Wakefield’s former Caphouse Colliery.

UNISON had submitted a pay claim of £2,000 for each full-time member of staff, but they were offered less than half that (4.2% plus 25p per hour). Museum managers had claimed this was the maximum ​they were allowed to pay because of a government-imposed pay cap.

The union took the matter to the relevant government department, the Department for Digital, Culture​, Media & Sport, which confirmed the pay cap did not apply to the museum.

This led to further talks through arbitration service Acas and a revised pay offer of £1,650 plus a one-off cost of living payment of £350 that employees have accepted. Further strike days have been called off.

The museum staff were supported on the picket line by a visit from former National Union of Mineworkers president Arthur Scargill.

UNISON Wakefield district branch secretary Sam Greenwood said: “Museum staff took a stand and ​have achieved ​a wage rise that goes some way towards helping them through the cost of living crisis.​

“Thankfully now the museum and its employees can continue with their amazing work sharing the story of the region’s substantial coal mining heritage for future generations to better understand and enjoy.”

Notes to editors
– Part-time staff will get a pro rata increase based on the rise for their full-time colleagues.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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