Just when you thought that the ConDem government was running out of national institutions and assets to privatise they think of another one! Their latest plan is to privatise all visitor services at one of the UK’s most important cultural attractions.
Staff at the National Gallery learned recently that senior managers want to bring in a private company to run the services it provides for visitors, including gallery assistants and security.
The National Gallery is the primary British national public art gallery, sited on Trafalgar Square, in central London. It is home to one of the world's greatest collections of Western European paintings with a collection of about 2,300 paintings by roughly 750 artists dating from the mid-13th century to 1900, most of which are on display.
The PCS union fears for the reputation of the world renowned gallery and says a recent similar privatisation at the Imperial War Museums is leading to a knowledge drain as experienced staff leave, and an increased use of zero hours contracts and unstable working conditions.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a disgraceful and cynical move that risks undoing the long history of professional and trusted work by staff at this world famous gallery, and we will be mounting a vigorous and visible campaign against it.
“Instead of investing in arts and culture, ministers are imposing massive spending cuts on our museums and galleries and insisting on more privatisation.”