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Posted on 15 July 2015 at 12:16 GMT

Trade union news

National Gallery walkouts continue

Summer of strikes if National Gallery bosses refuse to talk

From a PCS press release

The National Gallery will be hit by a summer of strikes if senior managers and trustees refuse to return to negotiations to avoid privatisation, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) says.

The union's members are already holding walkouts every week this month and are now actively considering escalating strikes from mid-August when the new director Gabriele Finaldi and new chair of trustees Hannah Rothschild are due to take over.

General secretary Mark Serwotka has this week written to all the trustees to formally request talks on detailed proposals submitted by the union for new flexible contracts to provide the cover the gallery says it needs for core working hours and late night opening.

His letter points out the outgoing director Nicholas Penny was reported in the media recently to have a preference for staff remaining in-house. "We believe that this is both possible and desirable if we were able to engage in talks on the details of our plan," the letter states.

He concludes: "Our members are in the process of voting on an escalation of the industrial action from the middle of August 2015 if a negotiated settlement has not been reached."

The gallery wants to privatise 400 of its 600 staff - all visitor services, including the attendants who help and advise the world-renowned institution's six million annual visitors.

There have now been almost 50 days of strikes at the gallery this year.

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