9 Days Remaining

Thursday 29th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

Pickets will confront art-lovers outside the National Gallery next week when workers facing privatisation begin an epic five-day strike from Tuesday.

The publicly funded gallery — London’s number two tourist attraction after the British Museum — sparked the massive revolt with plans to outsource nearly all its staff to privateer CIS.

Hundreds of members of union PCS voted by nine to one to walk out on a big 62 per cent turnout.

“This five-day walkout will put the National Gallery in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

“The sell-off plan is reckless and risks damaging the worldwide reputation of what is one of the UK’s greatest cultural assets and we are determined to stop it.”

Bosses claimed that the privatisation would ensure they could “fulfil our pledge to pay all our staff the London living wage” and that existing terms and conditions would be protected under TUPE regulations.

But workers fear major changes to shift patterns to cut costs.

CIS has spread its tentacles across the public sector in recent years, providing security workers to universities such as the prestigious King’s College, as well as councils and NHS hospitals.

In some roles it has agreed to pay the London living wage of £9.15, but jobs in the capital currently advertised on its website go as low as £7.25 an hour for a 12-hour security shift in Wapping.