Ulster Folk Museum closes 17 March due to Strike action

18 Mar 2023

NI Public Sector Alliance union members at National Museums NI joined strike action in relation to the Northern Ireland Civil Service Pay Dispute on 17 March, seeing the Ulster Folk Museum close on St Patrick's Day - traditionally a day of record visitor bookings.

This follows wide-spread public sector strikes across the UK in January and February - including many museums - over rates of pay, with a recent ballot across NI showing 94% support for industrial action.

Commenting on the strike, NIPSA Official Ryan Wilson said "Museum staff are part of the wider NI Civil Service family who have been offered a meagre £552 increase. Yet they witness MPs wages being increased by thousands of pounds. It leaves them feeling further undervalued and treated with contempt.", adding "It's important to remember that their working conditions are an essential part of your museum experience.

"They work hard to ensure that visitors to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museums have a memorable and enjoyable experience, and they deserve to be paid fairly for their efforts."

Announcing the closure of Ulster Folk Museum for St Patrick's Day, National Museums NI said: “We understand that some staff will participate in NIPSA’s coordinated strike action on Friday, March 17th as part of ongoing action in relation to the Northern Ireland Civil Service Pay Dispute.

"As a result, Ulster Folk Museum will be closed to the public, and the St Patrick’s Day event that was due to take place will no longer be going ahead. Ulster Transport Museum, Ulster Museum and Ulster American Folk Park will not be affected and all of our sites will be open as normal on March 18th.”

A Northern Ireland Office spokesperson said: "The pressures affecting Northern Ireland's public services demonstrate the pressing need to have locally accountable political leaders in place to take fundamental decisions on these services and deliver better outcomes for the people of Northern Ireland.

"It remains the Secretary of State's hope that the parties will recognise the importance of getting back to work so that an Executive is in place to take the decisions and action needed to address the challenges facing the public sector at this critical time."