Socialist Worker

Solidarity on the National Gallery picket line

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2466

Delegations from  a number of different unions have come to support the strikers

Delegations from a number of unions have come to support the strikers (Pic: Michael Bradley)


Trade unionists from a number of London universities visited picket lines at the National Gallery today, Thursday—the third day of an all-out strike.

Delegations from Birkbeck and Soas Unison branches and UCU branches from Hackney and London Met turned out to support the strikers. There were also visitors from the NUT and CWU unions.

A delegation from actors’ union Equity helped the strikers mount an afternoon picket outside the gallery’s Sainsbury Wing on Wednesday. 

And strikers are expecting a visit from members of Green Left and Black Activists Rising against Cuts on Friday morning.

The gallery workers began their all-out strike on Tuesday of this week. Gallery bosses signed a deal to outsource staff to private security firm Securitas on the same day.

The members of the PCS union had been fighting to stop the privatisation going through since January of this year.

Now they are determined to fight on in defence of their terms and conditions.

They are also demanding the reinstatement of victimised union rep Candy Udwin—who was suspended ahead of the first walkout in January, then sacked in May.

Candy’s appeal hearing against the sacking also ended on Tuesday. The result is expected to come out around the end of this month.

The strikers are even more determined to fight now that the all-out strike has begun.

Tuesday’s picket was one of their largest—and some 70 strikers attended a strike meeting later that day.

But it is vital that other trade unionists and campaigners do everything they can to support them—like the education unions did this morning.

Soas Unison branch secretary Sandy Nicol was at the picket line this morning.

He told Socialist Worker, “What we’ve been doing is a regular collection, which has been quite successful. And we’ve been turning up on the picket lines as well.

“Throughout the public sector we’re facing outsourcing. The National Gallery strikers gives hope to members in by branch.

“That’s why this is an important battle”.

Urgent appeal for donations. Sort code 08 60 01, account no 20169002. Cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House, 1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG
Visit the picket lines from 9-11am every day and 5-6.30pm on Fridays.
Contact strikers at noprivatisationatng@gmail.com
Visit the Facebook page No Privatisation at the National Gallery

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Thu 13 Aug 2015, 14:42 BST
Issue No. 2466
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