An appeal hearing into the dismissal of PCS union rep Candy Udwin upheld the National Gallery bosses’ decision today, Wednesday.
Candy was suspended on the eve of the workers’ first five-day walkout against privatisation in January.
Bosses trumped up charges of “breaching confidentiality” and later sacked her in May for “gross misconduct”.
Candy had drafted a question to a PCS official about the cost of hiring private security firm CIS, which management had brought into the gallery’s Sainsbury Wing.
National Gallery workers went on all-out strike on Tuesday of last week after a deal with outsourcer Securitas was signed to privatise 300 jobs.
Workers are now fighting to maintain their terms and conditions before Securitas takes over in November.
The PCS and new gallery director Gabriele Finaldi are set to meet tomorrow morning. The union are demanding that Finaldi does the right thing – reinstate Candy and overturn the privatisation.
The strikers’ picket line this Friday, from 5-6.30pm, will be a “Do the right thing Finaldi” protest and there will be a social afterwards.
It’s crucial that every trade unionist and campaigner gets down to the protest and supports the picket lines (details below).
Different groups of workers and campaigners are picking days to show solidarity.
Janet Maiden, a Unison union health service group executive (SGE) member joined health workers from London on the National Gallery picket lines this morning.
She spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. “We have to fight this all the way,” said Janet. “They sacked Candy because she’s a trade union militant who knows how to fight back.
“But this is not just about Candy – it’s an attack on the trade union movement. Bosses are not going to stop us by targeting individuals. It’s important that we support the workers’ fight.
“I brought one of my colleagues and we helped the strikers leaflet – it really buoyed us up.”
Unite union housing workers are set to join the picket line tomorrow afternoon.
Candy’s full employment tribunal is set for October. An interim employment tribunal previously ruled that it wasn’t reasonable to accuse her of gross misconduct.
The National Gallery workers can beat bosses and force them to reinstate Candy – but they need urgent solidarity.
All the details you need to support this crucial fightback
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 with a message of support or an invitation to speak at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Facebook page No Privatisation at the National Gallery