Socialist Worker

National Gallery staff vote for all-out strike

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2463

Workers at the National Gallery have voted overwhelmingly for all-out strike.

The members of the PCS union are set to begin their action in mid-August, after a vote that saw 99 in favour of indefinite action with four against and four abstaining.

The decision marks a significant escalation in the battle against privatisation and victimisation.

The gallery workers have been striking since January against bosses' plans to privatise 400 out of 600 jobs.

They are also demanding the reinstatement of union rep Candy Udwin, who has been sacked.

Wednesday of this week marked their 52nd strike day.

Candy's appeal hearing, also on Wednesday, was adjourned as the gallery had not given the union proper notice. It is set to restart in early August.

The vote to go all-out shows that the strikers are fighting to win – and should put pressure on incoming gallery director Gabriele Finaldi.

The strikers are also set for a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday of next week.

And they plan to hold an “alternative leaving party” for outgoing director Nicholas Penny on Thursday of next week outside the gallery – while Penny has his own leaving do inside.

To win the strikers will need all the help and solidarity they can get.

Just as the gallery workers are planning to escalate their action, so should trade unionists and campaigners everywhere step up their support.


  • Join Nicholas Penny’s alternative leaving party, 30 July, 6pm outside the Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, central London
  • Donate to the strike fund. Account number 20169002, sort code 08 60 01. Cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House, 1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG
  • For info on how to invite a striker to speak at a union branch meeting, go to https://ngnotforsale.wordpress.com/

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