Showing the strength to win

Casey explains why members at National Museums Liverpool are taking more strike action and the importance of public support.

Our action over the past three months has been such a positive experience for everyone involved in PCS at National Museums Liverpool (NML). Our members have produced some of the brightest, loudest and quirkiest picket lines, thanks to the expertise of our comrades in our Learning and Participation department.

The origin of this dispute reaches back to June 2023, with the government announcing a cost-of-living support payment for civil servants. Out of 207 employers involved in the PCS national campaign, NML is the only one that hasn’t made that payment.

We have been in conversation with NML management about that payment ever since, but it was clear that the only way that we were going to get it was through industrial action. Members were balloted in January this year, and a hard-fought campaign returned a 70% turnout with 94% voting YES to strike action.

We decided on eight weeks of continuous action, every day from mid-February to mid-April. We showed NML that we had the resources to really take the fight to the employer, to force them to talk to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to secure funding for the cost-of-living payment for staff.

Hard work and dedication

We’ve worked hard over some difficult years to showcase Liverpool’s incredibly rich, exciting, and varied histories in our various roles at NML. We faced a pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis and still we kept those doors open as much as possible to provide a space for people of all backgrounds to be inspired and feel safe in difficult times.

Eight weeks have passed, and despite some negotiations with the employer, we are yet to resolve this dispute. We have decided to take discontinuous action over the next three months, to target the busiest periods of footfall, which is weekends and school holidays. We’ll be outside the World Museum where the new Bees exhibition will open its doors on Saturday, making it clear that this dispute will not go away unless we have a meaningful conversation about ending this dispute with a credible offer for our members.

Crucial public support

Support from the public has been crucial in maintaining high morale for our members, with messages of support from different trade unions and passers-by. The people of Liverpool stand by their workers, and the warmth we have felt has been incredible. The Spirit of Shankly have asked for their objects to be removed from display in the Museum of Liverpool, others have done the same. These acts of solidarity give our members the strength to win this dispute.

We’d love to see you supporting our members on the picket lines. We’ll be outside World Museum on William Brown Street, Liverpool, from 9am - 12:30pm every weekend, and the full week from 27 May to 2 June.