Socialist Worker

National Gallery strikers announce further strike dates

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2458

National Gallery workers struck for the 35th day on Thursday of last week

National Gallery workers struck for the 35th day on Thursday of last week (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Workers at the National Gallery in central London have called ten further strike days - beginning this Saturday, the day of the People's Assembly Against Austerity demonstration.

The latest dates come as the fight to get sacked PCS union rep Candy Udwin reinstated won an important ruling last week. An employment tribunal judge has granted Candy interim relief. 

This means that National Gallery bosses, who sacked Candy last month, must continue to pay her until her full unfair dismissal hearing.

Candy was a leading PCS rep at the gallery before bosses suspended her ahead of a strike against privatisation in January. 

The judge found it likely that a full tribunal would rule it was unreasonable for bosses to accuse Candy of gross misconduct. 

The judge also found it likely that it would rule she had been acting legitimately as a trade union rep.

National Gallery workers struck for the 35th day on Thursday of last week. They celebrated the news at a lunchtime strike rally.

Candy told the rally, “The judge said that I did what any employee might do—particularly a trade union representative. 

“She said that it was not reasonable to have decided that it was gross misconduct.

Clearer

“She said that it was not activity cloaked as trade union activity—it was trade union activity. You can’t get clearer than that.”

Candy added, “That gives the gallery a bit of a problem. My appeal is on 2 July—the gallery director Nicholas Penny will be on the panel. 

“They’ll have to decide whether they want to ignore the findings of an employment tribunal judge.”

Candy congratulated NUJ union rep Phil Turner, who won his battle against victimisation last week.

Other speakers included Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

Solidarity events took place elsewhere. In Birmingham Sparkhill job centre workers held up signs calling for Candy’s reinstatement and an end to privatisation (pictured, above).

And PCS members at London’s Tate gallery sent a message of support to National Gallery staff.

PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh told the rally, “This campaign will continue until we’ve secured Candy’s reinstatement.” 

Candy’s full employment tribunal is due in October. 

 


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Tue 16 Jun 2015, 16:36 BST
Issue No. 2458
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