Public and Commercial Services Union
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National Gallery staff to strike for five days over sell-off

Workers at the National Gallery will strike for a week over plans to hand all visitor services to a private company.

The five-day walkout from Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 February inclusive will put the spotlight on a sell-off that threatens the reputation of the country’s second most visited major attraction, the union says.

Last week the union announced members had voted by more than nine to onefor industrial action on a 62% turnout. The conciliation service Acas is brokering talks in an attempt to settle the dispute.

Gallery bosses announced plans last year to privatise almost all staff, including those who look after the paintings and help the gallery's six million annual visitors.

They 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 firm CIS has taken over the whole of the Sainsbury wing – which houses masterpieces by Raphael, Botticelli and Fra Angelico – for the rest of this year without any competitive tender or consultation.

The company was brought in to cover the gallery's Rembrandt exhibition last autumn. Its promotional brochure advertises its services as guarding empty buildings, door security and CCTV monitoring.


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