Three strikes and they’re out

_80572794_nationalgallery1_paThe National Gallery faces seven more days of strikes as senior officials refuse to discuss our plans to avoid privatisation.

Walkouts this Saturday and Sunday, and from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 March, are the third period of extended strike action in two months.

On Saturday we will take part in a conference bringing together unions and campaigners for the arts.

In February we submitted formal proposals to director Nicholas Penny and chair of trustees Mark Getty for changes to rotas and flexible working that would avoid the planned sell-off of all the gallery’s visitor services.

Gallery bosses have rejected our request that the document forms part of ongoing negotiations at the conciliation service Acas.

The gallery plans to privatise the work of 400 of its 600 staff. No other major museum or gallery has outsourced its visitor services in this way.

The dispute was inflamed when our senior rep Candy Udwin, who is involved in the Acas talks, was suspended on the eve of the first strike.

Support for our action and Candy’s reinstatement has been overwhelming and continues to grow.

Our general secretary Mark Serwotka said it was “very disappointing” that senior managers appear unwilling to discuss our plans, adding: “This privatisation risks undermining the gallery’s well earned reputation as one of our country’s greatest cultural assets.”

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