British Museum staff strike over cutbacks

More
than 750 British Museum staff are set to strike today over a 15 per cent cut in
the workforce.

The
Public and Commercial Services union claims government funding for the museum
has fallen by 30 per cent over the last 10 years.

The
union believes the reduction in staff and other cost cutting measures will
cause irreparable damage to the museum’s reputation as a centre of scholarship.    

PCS
national Officer Terry Adams said: "Striking staff will be outside the
British Museum today to explain to the people unable to visit the exhibitions
why they had to take this action. I am certain that the visiting public will
wholeheartedly support PCS members fighting to secure their livelihoods and the
future of such an important cultural asset.”

"The
public are as shocked as the staff that due to government under-funding, the
museum is planning harsh staff cuts, the closure of galleries, and the scaling
down of exhibitions and education programmes. World-class museums are not cheap
to run and if the government does not realise this soon, we will have none
left."

Alan
Leighton, national officer at trade union Prospects, said: "The Museum’s
plan to contract out specific exhibition work as and when funding is secured is
ludicrous and will result in the loss of some of the UK’s leading
specialists."

www.pcs.org.uk

By Paul Nelson

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