News

Trafalgar Square rally in support of striking National Gallery staff

PCS Union members and supporters holding rally against privatisation of services in the National Gallery. Image: @pcs_union

PCS Union members and supporters holding rally against privatisation of services in the National Gallery. Image: @pcs_union

Trade Unions have been demonstrating in Trafalgar Square in support of striking National Gallery staff.

They wished to ‘send an anti-privatisation message to the Government.’

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union at the National Gallery are currently mid-way through a 10-day strike – which hit this week’s school holidays.

This is the latest impact of an angry dispute over plans to outsource services.

The conflict worsened when union rep Candy Udwin was suspended before the first strike action in February and subsequently sacked.

The striking staff, who wore gags and held a banner which read ‘we will not be silenced.’

Hundreds of union members rallied outside one of the country’s flagship art venues.

Ms Udwin was applauded as she walked on stage and said:

We’re not going to let them turn (the National Gallery) in to a playground for the rich, because that’s what they want to do with their corporate sponsors.

We’re not going to let them bully us, or silence us by sacking me. We’ve got to turn the tide because this Government is coming for us.

They’re coming to attack us, our freedom of speech, our human rights and our trade union rights. We’ve got to turn the tide and not let them do that. We need solidarity.

The rally had support from Film director Ken Loach, Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger and comedian Kate Smurthwaite.

The National Gallery statement said:

The PCS opposes the introduction of a new roster for some visitor facing and security staff, which would enable us to operate more flexibly.

As a result of the PCS position, we are now appointing an external partner to manage these services. Affected staff will transfer across; there will be no job cuts, and terms and conditions will be protected.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s