Socialist Worker

National Gallery workers are star exhibit with five-day strike against privatisation

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2446

National Gallery strikers at the beginning of their five-day strike this week

National Gallery strikers at the beginning of their five-day strike this week (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Workers at the National Gallery in London began a five-day walkout against privatisation on Tuesday of this week.

The PCS union members have already struck for 12 days this year over plans to privatise 400 out of 600 jobs.

It was announced last week that art curator Gabriele Finaldi will take over as director of the gallery in August.

One striker told Socialist Worker, “You’d hope he’d put a stop to it—if he doesn’t, it’s terrible.”

Workers at the gallery are not even paid the London Living Wage. Many have been forced to take second jobs.

“It was a really nice place to work—now it’s a different place altogether,” said one striker.

Bosses suspended PCS rep Candy Udwin before the first five-day walkout in January. 

“It’s dreadful,” explained one striker. “But we are supporting Candy—she has been brilliant. It only makes you even angrier about what they are doing.”

The tendering process is set for just before the general election. Workers are calling on the Labour Party to come out in opposition to the plans.

Strikers organised a people’s inquiry into the National Gallery at parliament on Tuesday of this week. They plan to go on speaking tours on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

A national day of action is also planned for Thursday—and strikers are asking for supporters to take part in solidarity action.

Information about donating to the strike fund and inviting strikers to speak can be found at

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Tue 24 Mar 2015, 16:15 GMT
Issue No. 2446
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