Workers' rights are an issue all over the world, and there are a lot of people who will do anything in order to ensure that workers are being treated fairly. One recent change at the National Museum of Scotland has caused a lot of controversy and stress for many who are involved in working there and unions, as well as fair wage advocates, are not happy.
In short, officials for the museum recently made the declaration that they were going to stop giving additional pay for those who were working on Saturdays and Sundays. As a result of this change, some workers could stand to lose anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 GBP per year in absence of the additional pay they have, until now, received for working weekends.
Pay Cuts Only for Newer Workers? Unions Still Not Buying It
The change in pay does not involve people who have been employed since before 2011, so those employees who have been with the museum for several years are not set to lose any pay. Those newer employees, i.e., those who have been working for the museum for less than 4 years, will lose a significant pay differential for working on weekends according to the new ruling. This resulting salary inequality has prompted the Public and Commercial Services union (the union that represents museum workers in Scotland) to step in and try to make pay rates as equal as possible. According to the union and workers, the negotiations have been largely unfruitful and there are still many people unhappy with the changes.
Even though negotiations over the allowance have been going on for several weeks, a compromise still hasn't been reached. The powers that be at the National Museum of Scotland don't seem to be budging on the change, citing a need to take care of a stringent budget and the fact that they simply want to remain open for visitors. This is an issue for many museums and historical areas throughout the world, so it's not surprising that the National Museum of Scotland is also talking about making these changes and trying to sustain the important venue and its operations.
Strike at The National Museum of Scotland
As is the case in many situations where there are discussions over wages, the last resort for unions is always a strike; workers simply refuse to work because of the perceivably unfair and unresolved situation at hand. This past week has seen a strike on the part of employees at the National Museum of Scotland, forcing the venue to close as of August 24th, 2015. Even though many people have said that they didn't want it to have to go this far, the inability to reach a solution seems to have left no other option. The timing of the strike couldn't be worse, as it comes in the wake of the internationally-acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival; the most busy time of year for the cultural capital.
Will Strikes Affect Your Trip to Scotland?
Will this affect your travel plans? It depends on when you plan on traveling and how long the strike lasts. People on both sides were hoping that it wouldn't last any longer than a week, but as of today, 8 days after the beginning of the strike on August 24, the museum still remains only partially open. Chances are, the issue will be fixed by the time that you find yourself in Scotland but it's still something to be aware of and watch out for during your European travels.
Up to date information is available online on the National Museum of Scotland's gallery closures page.