Museum staff to vote on strike action

Staff
at the British Museum are voting whether to strike next month after plans to
cut the workforce by 15 per cent were announced.

The
Prospect and Public and Commercial Services unions said their 750 members could
strike in mid-June in protest over a £6.5m cost-cutting programme.

The
museum employs 1,100 staff but the cuts could see 150 jobs axed, as well as
reductions in education, scholarship and collections budgets.

Alan
Leighton, Prospect heritage officer, said grants for the museum had fallen by
30 per cent over the last 10 years and claimed that further cuts would
seriously damage a national cultural resource.

"These
are the same staff that former Secretary of State Chris Smith described as the
museum’s most precious asset. The cuts will strike at the heart of its
activities and strip the country of many of its leading specialists," he
said.

By Ross Wigham

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