Hundreds of staff at conservation charity, National Trust for Scotland, owners of sites such as Mar Lodge (pictured) are being balloted for strike action over pay

Tim Lezard

NTS Mar LodgeHundreds of staff at the conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland, are being balloted for strike action over pay.

It could see industrial action at dozens of major historical venues, such as Mar Lodge (pictured).

It comes after Prospect said management imposed a real-terms pay cut of 2% which had already been rejected by 91% of members in February.

The union says a claim for the introduction of the Scottish Living Wage of £7.45 per hour was met with an increase in pay for the lowest grade staff to £6.67 and what officials describe as “a vague promise” to pay all staff the Living Wage level by 2017.

The National Trust for Scotland says it must live within the finances provided by public donations.

However, Prospect says independent scrutiny of NTS finances indicates that it has added £44m to its reserves in the last four years and and has a non-heritage investment portfolio worth around £190m.

NTS membership fees are also being increased by 3.1% more than the rate of inflation.

Prospect national secretary Alan Denney said: “Members have made it clear that enough is enough.

“They accept that a price had to be paid to secure the Trust’s future and they are not seeking to recover these losses in pay. They want to see their pay keep up with prices.

“Significant numbers of staff are paid at minimum wage levels and they deserve better than another pay cut.”

Staff accepted a series of ‘pay sacrifices’ during a financial crisis in 2008-09, when NTS threatened to close a number of its properties and cut jobs.

The NTS owns and manages historic buildings, including castles and other sites such as the Culloden and Bannockburn battlefields.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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