Museum staff forced to take pay cut
Museum staff in Coventry – working for the trust that manages the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, the Transport Museum, Lunt Fort and the Priory Visitor Centre – are being forced to take a pay cut which could cost them up to £3000 a year.
Two weeks ago all staff of Culture Coventry were given a letter from the Chief Executive, Gary Hall, saying that they had to sign to accept new terms of employment by 5th May or their contracts would be terminated, and they would only be offered their jobs back under the new terms.
Dave Nellist, of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, who first raised the matter publicly at a memorial service attended by councillors and held adjacent to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum on April 28, said today:
“The new contract scraps flexitime and enhanced payment for weekend and evening work. As the nature of the museums is to be open 7 days a week plus special events, staff have relied on shift and unsocial hours money as part of their earnings. Many workers face a £3,000 a year loss.
“This is yet another example of people who have absolutely no responsibility for the recession and economic crisis being asked to pay for it. Most staff at Culture Coventry are so frightened of losing their jobs, and being unable to pay their mortgage, that they are keeping their heads down and taking it all.
“But I understand Coventry City Council has four elected members on the Board of Culture Coventry, and that they were briefed 3 months ago about these wage cuts – yet it appears that many other councillors, including some from the controlling Labour group, were unaware of these cuts until I raised it last week.
“Councillors on the Board of Culture Coventry should call an emergency meeting and then have these disgraceful wage cuts rescinded. The City Council, who until recently ran all these services, should not put them under arms length arrangements and then wash their hands of all responsibility for staff, many of whom have given years if not decades of service to this city.”