MEMBERS of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working at all seven sites of the National Museum Wales are to take strike action for two hours today.

Union chiefs say the industrial action is in response to proposals that would slash the take-home pay of the lowest paid staff.

Included are the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon, which will stay open, and Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, which will be closed completely between noon and 2pm and there will be no underground tours all day.

The union says the walkout, between noon and 2pm, aims to persuade museum bosses to drop plans to cut “premium payments” for weekends and bank holidays, which, it says, make up a “significant proportion” of the take-home pay of lower-paid employees, and to remove the pensionable element of these payments. Neil Harrison, PCS branch chairman at the National Museum described the plans as a ‘lifelong pay cut’.

The payments go to staff who are contracted to work rotas including weekends and bank holidays. Around half of the museums’ employees are paid £54.24 extra per day on top of their salary for working Sundays and bank holidays, and £30.06 extra for working Saturdays.

Museum bosses say that due to cuts in their budget, this cannot continue in its present form.