Socialist Worker

National Gallery workers plan next move

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2448

National Gallery workers on strike in February

National Gallery workers on strike in February (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers at the National Gallery in London are planning further action against privatisation plans.

Bosses want to privatise 400 out of 600 jobs. So far workers have taken 17 days of strikes.

The tendering process is set to begin just days before the general election in May—and workers say there will be further strikes before then.

As Socialist Worker went to press workers were set to meet to formally decide on dates.

Bosses have gone on the offensive during the dispute. They have suspended PCS union rep Candy Udwin—and threatened more workers with action over “intimidation” during strikes.

But Candy and the workers have received support from trade unionists and activists across the country.

A fringe meeting on fighting austerity at the NUT union conference gave its backing to Candy last weekend. The meeting was called by left wing groups in the union.

Candy spoke about the fight by National Gallery workers to stop privatisation. 


She said, “Our society is failing on all sorts of counts. But on our side, people have shown a great deal of courage and resistance.”

The meeting raised nearly £270 for the strike fund.

Deputy general secretary of the NUT, Kevin Courtney, said Candy is an “inspiration”. He told the meeting, “Candy goes from fight to fight. Not because she wants to fight but because she can’t stand the injustice.”

Kevin said it is possible to build campaigns against victimisations and other attacks. 

He referred to Candy’s previous victimisation at University College Hospital (UCH), when Kevin was teaching in Camden, north London. “We struck when Candy was victimised in UCH,” he said.

“People say strikes aren’t popular—but it was incredibly popular. We marched with parents to say we defend our hospital.”


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Article information

Tue 7 Apr 2015, 17:52 BST
Issue No. 2448
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