Science Museum strike on 16 February


Science Museum strike on 16 February

Over 200 Prospect members at the National Museum of Science and Industry are taking strike action on Wednesday 16 February.

The strike is in protest at a below-inflation pay offer for 2004 and other cost-cutting measures that are causing irreparable damage to the museum’s international reputation as a centre of scholarship.

The one-day strike, taken by curators, conservators, specialists, managers and explainers at NMSI will close the Science Museum in London. The action will also cause disruption to services at the National Rail Museum, York and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford.

Prospect negotiator Emily Boase said: "Our members care passionately about the museum and having a real-terms cut in their wages is bad enough. But they feel this derisory offer, which reneges on previous pay promises, is indicative of the wider financial crisis facing the museum which threatens the fabric of the exhibits and the services that the public have a right to expect.

"NMSI has had the lowest allocation of all national museums over the last seven years while still absorbing a substantial increase in costs following the reintroduction of free museum admission. World-class museums do not come on the cheap but simply relying on the goodwill of staff is no longer an option."

To-date NSMI has:

  • closed 10 galleries, including the Food for Thought and Lighting galleries
  • cut the visitor programme budget by 64% - reducing lectures, demonstrations and interactive work open to the public
  • reduced temporary exhibitions and imposed drastic cuts to the maintenance budget
  • threatened the closure of the Science Museum library with the potential loss of 14 world-leading specialists and the majority of its archive.

The strike will be the first taken by Prospect members at NMSI since 1993. Members of the PCS union, who work as warders, managers, security and administrative staff, have also voted to take part in the day of action, which takes place during half-term.