By Nick Clark
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National Gallery strikers march on Downing Street demanding privatisation is halted

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Issue 2446
National Gallery strikers marching to Downing Street
National Gallery strikers marching to Downing Street (Pic: Socialist Worker )

Striking National Gallery workers in London held a rally outside the gallery in Trafalgar Square today, Thursday.

The PCS union members are on the fourth day of a five-day strike against bosses’ plans to privatise 400 out of 600 jobs.

They are also demanding the reinstatement of PCS rep Candy Udwin, who bosses suspended on the eve of the first five-day walkout in January.

As of today, the workers have struck for a total of 16 days against the privatisation plans.

Following the rally, strikers blocked traffic as they marched to Downing Street to hand in a letter demanding that the privatisation be halted.

Many of the speakers at the rally talked about the widespread support and solidarity the strike has received.

One of the strikers described his solidarity trip to South Yorkshire. He said, “The support that we got was amazing – we raised £1,300 for the hardship fund.

“Those people saw that our struggle was reflected in their struggle. One of the people who supported us said he was proud to see us standing up against privatisation”.

Adam, a worker from the department of energy and climate change, said, “We’ve been outside our workplace collecting money for the strike – we’ve had a fantastic response”.

Left wing film maker Ken Loach, who was also at the rally, told Socialist Worker about his support for the strike and Candy. He said, “I’ve known Candy for a number of years. Everyone who meets her has a lot of respect for her.

“It’s typical that the gallery has gone for somebody who is articulate and clear, and committed to the people she works with”.

Candy told the rally that the support the strike has received was essential.

She said, “I really feel that we’re gathering strength. Today there aren’t just protests here in London – there are also protests today in support of us in Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.

“We’re up against it inside the gallery, but it’s the support we’ve got from outside that’s kept us going.”

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