Judge finds PCS member Candy Udwin to have acted legitimately over National Gallery privatisation

PCS National Gallery strikeA PCS representative sacked by the National Gallery was likely to have been unfairly dismissed for her union activities, a tribunal has found.

Candy Udwin, suspended in February on the eve of the first strike over privatisation and sacked last month, had shared information with her full time union official about the cost of the gallery using a private company.

At an interim employment tribunal hearing yesterday a judge found it was likely a full tribunal will rule this was legitimate in her role as a union rep and that it was unreasonable for the gallery to categorise it as gross misconduct.

Despite the ruling the gallery refused to reinstate Candy so the tribunal made a ‘continuation of employment’ order, meaning she will receive full pay and benefits from the date of dismissal pending the full hearing in October.

The union will pursue the case to a full tribunal if necessary but says Candy should be reinstated immediately.

The union has also called on the incoming gallery director Gabriele Finaldi and chair of trustees Hannah Rothschild to meet its officials urgently to resolve the dispute.

The union’s members are today taking their 35th day of strike action over plans to privatise all visitor services staff and holding protests all day outside the gallery in Trafalgar Square, London.

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn joined pickets and spoke at a strike rally there at lunchtime.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is great news for Candy who has faced months of anguish and uncertainty about her future.

“The gallery should now see sense and reinstate Candy immediately, and its new management team must meet us urgently to resolve this dispute that is threatening the reputation of this great cultural institution.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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