Our campaign to secure the future of ex-Carillion staff at the British Museum received the backing of MPs at a public meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting was organised by PCS to highlight the impact of cuts and privatisation at our national museums and galleries.
The latest example of the failure of privatisation was the collapse of Carillion which has left around 100 facilities management and cleaning services staff who work at the British Museum facing an uncertain future and being paid by the receivers.
The Museum has so far kept the union and our members in the dark about their plans. PCS is calling for all staff to be brought back in-house and are seeking urgent talks with British Museum management to seek protection for our members’ jobs, pensions and terms and conditions.
The meeting was chaired by PCS president, Janice Godrich and was addressed by members of the opposition frontbench and the PCS parliamentary group.
PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka praised the work of our low paid members who keep some of the world’s greatest institutions running. He said: “We have some of the world’s greatest artefacts in some of the world’s greatest buildings being run by people who never think of the staff who keep them running. Our members deserve to be treated with dignity.
“We want long term job security for our members with decent terms and conditions and levels of pay.”
He added that the core demand of our campaign is to bring jobs and services back in-house.
Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell MP and shadow secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP both pledged that a Labour government would bring services back in-house and where that was not possible ensure that companies running government contracts met minimum standards such as recognising trade unions and not operating zero-hours contracts.
Kevin Brennan MP, the shadow arts and heritage minister, said there was no reason for the government not to bring the British Museum jobs back in-house. He said: “If we value our national institutions, we must value those that work in them.”
PCS parliamentary group chair, Chris Stephens MP, called on the British Museum to show responsibility for the staff and supported the call for them to be brought back in-house.
PCS culture group president, Clara Paillard paid tribute to the stand that our members at the British Museum have taken, and highlighted where services were already being brought back in-house as an example of privatisation not working in the culture sector.
MPs have tabled early day motion 1243 in support of our campaign.