LONDON — Cleaners and maintenance workers at London's British Museum went on strike Monday against plans to outsource their work.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and Unite, which represent about 50 cleaners and maintenance staff, think the museum's managers will soon announce a deal to outsource maintenance work in April.
"With the cost of living soaring, the last thing these low-paid workers need is a private company taking over and cutting their wages and working conditions to boost profits and line shareholders' pockets," said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
Facilities management is currently provided by in-house staff and two external contractors, but "the museum feels that these services could be provided more simply by the appointment of one contractor," a museum spokesman said in a statement.
"In-house staff would continue their employment with the contractor through the TUPE process."
It added that the museum said it is consulting with its staff over the contracting proposal.
The museum said about 40 workers went on strike Monday from 7am to 10am, while Unite estimated 60 members of staff took part.
Another strike is planned next Monday.
"Without our members carrying out the cleaning and servicing of the buildings and exhibits, the British Museum's standing as a world class heritage site is in danger of becoming second class," said Unite regional officer Carolyn Simpson. "We will not allow these jobs be outsourced without a fight."
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