Public and Commercial Services Union
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Union presents alternative to National Gallery privatisation

PCS has today submitted formal plans that it says would avoid privatisation at the National Gallery.

Detailed proposals to meet the gallery's needs for changes to rotas and flexible working have been presented to the director Nicholas Penny and chair of trustees Mark Getty.

The document should form part of the negotiations between the union and the gallery that are being supervised by conciliation service Acas.

It comes on the final day of the latest five-day strike in a dispute that has been inflamed by managers suspending one of the union's senior reps who is involved in the Acas talks.

As part of the campaign a protest rally will be held outside the gallery in Trafalgar Square from 1pm today.

The union says the gallery prematurely ended talks at the end of last year and announced it was pressing ahead with plans to outsource all of its visitor services, but at that point senior managers had limited the scope of discussions.

The union's proposals point out that, despite the gallery's claims, no other major museum or gallery has privatised all of its visitor staff in this way.

It says the starting point for any plans to improve services, as previously acknowledged by senior officials and trustees, should be developing the skills among existing staff.

The union says it fully recognises the financial situation the gallery faces from government spending cuts, but says changes should protect the gallery's core services and well earned global reputation.

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Channel website: http://www.pcs.org.uk

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