British Museum cancels half-term events activities amid staff strike

The museum’s programme of half-term events and activities will not go ahead as a week of strike action begins today.

A week of strike action by British Museum workers and members of the PCS Union begins today.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), who work at the British Museum, are set to strike until 19 February.

The action has led the museum to cancel its planned programme of half-term events and activities. It has also made entry available only to pre-booked ticket holders during the action.

Union members working for the British Museum are striking as part of a national campaign over pay, pensions, job security and redundancy terms.

The museum has warned that this week it may become necessary to close galleries early or at short notice. It today said that it will remain open, but there will not be Information Desk, Ticket Desk, Box Office and Cloakroom services.

A picket line was seen outside the front entrance of the museum this morning.

Museum director Hartwig Fischer said last week that the cancellation of the programme of events was “not a decision we have taken lightly”.

Fischer wrote in a public statement: “I respect my colleagues’ right to take this action, but I am disappointed that the British Museum is being made a focal point for a dispute about wider public sector terms and conditions which are beyond its control.

“I will be working hard with colleagues on each day of the planned industrial action to provide some access to our permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions. In the event we cannot open all, or parts, of the Museum this will be communicated as early as possible on our website.

“In the current climate access to free visitor attractions has never been more important. I am deeply sorry for all those families whose visits to the Museum will be disrupted during the half term holidays.”

Earlier this month multiple museums announced their closure following a one day strike by the Union.

More than 100,000 Public and Commercial Services (PCS) members in 123 government departments are expected to walk out this Wednesday, March 15th.