National Gallery staff strike over privatisation plans

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National Gallery staff strike over privatisation plans

National Gallery staff today began a five-day strike over privatisation of certain services at the famous London institution.

It is expect to remain open throughout the strike.

Around 250 workers belonging to the Public and Commercial Services union picketed the gallery earlier today to protest plans to hand visitor services over to a private company.

Talks were held to try and resolve tension but ended before an agreement was reached.

General secretary for the union, Mark Serwotka, said: “The sell-off plan is reckless and risks damaging the worldwide reputation of what is one of the UK's greatest cultural assets, and we are determined to stop it."

However, Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery said the changes were “essential” for future success.

He said: “"The proposed changes are necessary to enable the National Gallery to increase income in the face of a reduced grant and increasing maintenance and running costs, and to enable it to pay all staff a minimum of the London living wage."

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