PCS members on strike over privatisation plans

PCS members on strike at the National Gallery, February 2015. © Tim Lezard

PCS members on strike at the National Gallery, February 2015. © Tim Lezard

PCS members at the National Gallery today begin a second five-day strike against privatisation.

The gallery has told 400 of its 600 staff they are to be taken over by private company, CIS. The workers are responsible for the security of the paintings and the public and look after the millions of visitors to the world renowned institution. The National Gallery is the only major museum that does not pay the London Living Wage of £9.15.

More than 40,000 people have signed the union’s petition and supported their campaign to halt the privatisation.

The gallery has brought in CIS to ‘temporarily’ take over services in a third of the gallery at the additional cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money.

Following a successful five-day strike earlier this month there was a public meeting in Parliament on 10 February to discuss the campaign.

On the eve of the first five-day strike, gallery bosses suspended Candy Udwin, one of the union’s senior reps who is involved in ongoing talks at Acas, for drafting a question about the cost of CIS for the PCS negotiating officer. More than 8,500 people have already signed a statement condemning this victimisation and calling for her reinstatement.

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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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