UK: Support strikers at the National Gallery in London
Staff at the National Gallery in London, organised by PSI affiliate the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), have been on strike since February 2015 following the Gallery's decision to privatise two thirds of staff, including those who look after the paintings and help the gallery's six million annual visitors. In the absence of successful negotiations, PCS has started an indefinite strike over the gallery's privatisation plans and the impact these will have. The action has escalated because the gallery has announced the appointment of private security firm Securitas to manage the visitor-facing and security services on a 5-year contract reportedly worth £40 million. About 300 gallery assistants who guard paintings and help visitors will be affected. They will no longer be employed by the gallery and will instead work for Securitas. On their website, Securitas claims they have a cheaper service because they "are able to pay their staff a lower rate". PCS staff representative Candy Udwin was suspended as the strike started and then dismissed. Her appeal against dismissal has been refused by the Gallery despite an Employment Tribunal Interim hearing ruling that it was likely she was unfairly dismissed because of her trade union activities. Please send a message to the Gallery's new director, Gabriele Finaldi, calling on him to seek a resolution to this long running dispute.