STAFF union members at the National Railway Museum in York have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay.

The Press reported last month that Prospect Union members were to vote over whether to launch industrial action over a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5 per cent, claiming they had suffered a 13 per cent real-terms pay cut since 2010.

Yesterday, union members in the Science Museum Group (SMG), which includes the National Railway Museum, announced they have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over pay. Almost 80 per cent of those who responded voted in favour of strike action, while 95 per cent voted for action short of a strike.

Prospect representatives said they will now seek to meet SMG management in an effort to resolve the dispute. They said a timetable and make-up of industrial action would be decided in due course, but if the issue is not resolved the action is expected to take place during the busy summer period.

Prospect negotiations officer Sharon Brown said: “This is a very strong result in favour of industrial action. Our members love what they do but the cannot carry on with year after year of real-terms pay cuts.

“SMG covers some of the top tourist attractions in the country, with 750,000 people visiting the National Railway Museum each year. People will be astonished at how poorly its staff is paid, especially when they hear that the director has seen his pay increase by a third in just four years. Yet, at the bottom of the pay scale workers are not even earning the Real Living Wage.

“Management need to sit down with us and come up with a fair offer so we can end this dispute and get on with delivering world-class attractions.”

A spokesman for the National Railways Museum said: “We are disappointed by the outcome of Prospect Union’s ballot and will seek to minimise any disruption to the public’s enjoyment of our museums should the union decide to go ahead with industrial action. Our pay offer included a 6.9 per cent increase for the lowest-paid employees as part of a settlement that saw all employees receive an increase of at least 1.5 per cent . Overall the settlement represents a 2.7% increase in salary costs which we believe was a reasonable offer, given the challenging overall financial picture.”