Galleries avert strikes with new pay deal

An
improved pay offer has averted strikes at the National Galleries of Scotland.

Members
of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) were to hold industrial
action, but this has been suspended following last minute negotiations.

A
revised pay offer, which will be put to members next week, will re-introduce
enhanced payments for staff working weekends as part of their normal working
hours.

The
final offer, which is subject to approval by ministers, is effective for three
years from 1 August 2001.

PCS
members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in June and an
overtime ban was introduced on 30 June, closing all four Edinburgh galleries on
Sundays. Staff had also been refusing to work overtime since April, which has
had the effect of no Sunday opening for two months.

The
offer will also mean that a one-day strike, planned to coincide with today’s
launch of the major summer exhibition New: Recent Acquisitions of British
Contemporary Art, will be postponed.

If
accepted, the offer will also mean the introduction of rostered attendance on
Sundays, ensuring seven day opening of the galleries.

By Quentin Reade

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