London's National Gallery may face industrial action

Staff outside the National Gallery last October

Staff outside the National Gallery last October. Image by Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Art lovers visiting London in the coming days and weeks may suffer as staff threaten industrial action at the National Gallery. Today the members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) were being balloted on whether or not to launch a campaign of industrial action. The union fears that plans by management will lead to the gallery’s staff jobs being privatised, including those who look after the paintings and help the gallery's six million annual visitors with enquiries.

The PCS are also unhappy that the management has failed to honour a promise to introduce the London living wage. A yes vote in the ballot, which closes on Friday, 23 January could lead to several days of consecutive strike action next month.

Next Monday there will be a protest outside the gallery in Trafalgar Square to highlight the issue. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: 'This reckless sell-off plan risks damaging the worldwide reputation of what is one of the UK’s greatest cultural assets, and we are determined to stop it.'

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