Staff at the National Gallery are not happy. And they're going on all-out strike this week. The dispute is over the privatisation of the National Gallery's visitor services, which include gallery assistants and security. What's the story? We spoke to both the management and an anonymous striking employee who is a member of the Public and Commercial Services union to see what the deal is.
'The PCS opposes the introduction of new working practices which would enable us to operate more flexibly and deliver an enhanced service. The National Gallery spent more than a year negotiating with the PCS union; however, the PCS refused to compromise on its position. As a result, the National Gallery has appointed Securitas to manage some visitor-facing and security staff services. There will be no job cuts.'
An anonymous employee says:
'I'm on strike because I care. I care about the paintings, the visitors, my colleagues, my job. Privatisation will mean an erosion of our working conditions. The higher turnover as disillusioned staff leave will cause a drain in knowledge and commitment. Management has now accelerated the process, which is why we have gone on all-out strike. We will continue to fight for the National Gallery to remain national, and open for everyone.'
Or get out of London and take one of these arty day-trips.