Famous names back National Gallery action


Photo Credit:  The Commentator
Photo Credit: The Commentator

According to PCS union thousands of people are set to rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday to support the PCS strike at the National Gallery.

At the Gallery’s footsteps at 1.00 pm a rally by PCS members against privatisation and victimisation will be held. The action have been backed by dozens of leading trade unionists, activists and famous names from the arts. Dozens of household names, including Ken Loach, Russell Brand, Mark Wallinger, Grayson Perry and Lee Childs have shown support for the PCS campaign, reports UK’s leading news weekly for British Asians, Asian Lite.

PCS members at the National Gallery will by next week have taken 34 days’ strike action in under 4 months. “This is a tremendous and remarkable feat which has already won concessions from management, including the Living Wage,’’ say Union leaders.

Figures including PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, MP John McDonnell, comedian Russell Brand, director Ken Loach, Billy Elliott scriptwriter Lee Hall and author Owen Jones signed a letter published by the Guardian protesting at the NATIONAL Gallery’s sacking of PCS rep Candy Udwin. Comedians Jo Brand, Francesca Martinez, Kate Smurthwaite and Mark Thomas, described Saturday’s rally as “an opportunity to support the campaign but also to protest against the kind of Tory cuts that led to this decision and against what is an attack on trade unions.”

They described the privatisation as “unnecessary and damaging the reputation of one of our country’s finest cultural institutions.”

The letter confirmed the supporters’ commitment to opposing the privatisation and the victimisation of Candy, “who has done nothing more than stand up for her colleagues and try to hold her employer to account.”

The letter concluded by saying that the attack on Candy is a “direct and cynical attack on her union and we call on the gallery management and trustees to overturn the decision.”

PCS members on 26 May holding their 25th day of strike action with further walkouts have planned action up to 4 June

Other signatories include: Christine Blower (NUT general secretary); Ronnie Draper (BFAWU general secretary); artists David Shrigley, Peter Kennard and Bob and Roberta Smith; Steve Gillan (POA general secretary); Sally Hunt (UCU general secretary); Len McCluskey (Unite general secretary).

Debunking the privatisation myth PCS leaders argue , “There are lots of claims and assumptions about the effectiveness and benefits of privatisation, especially during times of economic crisis, and that previously publicly-owned utilities have been improved through privatisation. This is not true. During times of economic uncertainty it is best to invest in public services. Research shows that every £1 of public spending generate a futher 64p in the economy. Privatisation usually ends up costing us more.’