PCS members oppose privatisation plans

pcsPCS members working at the National Gallery have began voting in a ballot that could lead to extended periods of strike action.

The workers are opposed to plans to privatise almost all staff, including those who look after the paintings and help the gallery’s six million annual visitors with enquiries.

Senior managers have also reneged on a promise to introduce the London living wage, meaning the institution is the only major museum or gallery in the capital that does not pay it.

Private security company CIS was brought in last autumn to staff the gallery’s Rembrandt exhibition. Now the firm has been handed work in the Sainsbury wing, without any tender or consultation.

A ‘yes’ vote in the ballot, closing next Friday, is likely to lead to the union announcing several days of consecutive strike action in February.

There will be a day of action against the privatisation plan on Monday, including a protest at 6pm outside the gallery in Trafalgar Square.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This reckless sell-off plan risks damaging the worldwide reputation of what is one of the UK’s greatest cultural assets, and we are determined to stop it.”

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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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