National Gallery staff in walkout


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Workers at the National Gallery in London will stage another strike tomorrow in a continuing row over jobs.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union will walk out for two hours from 4pm, following a similar stoppage last week.

The workers claim that staff cuts mean they are no longer able to do their jobs properly, adding that the Government axed 15% from the gallery's budget as part of its spending review in October 2010, amounting to £4 million for the period up to 2014/15, £1.5 million through staffing.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The gallery is home to some incredibly valuable works of art, not just in monetary terms but in their contribution to culture and our society.

"But instead of investing in the arts, and the people who look after them, the Government has imposed massive spending cuts on our museums and galleries to pay for an economic crisis caused by bankers, and we are now seeing the impact of this on the National Gallery and elsewhere."

Further industrial action will be held on February 2.

The National Gallery said it will endeavour to keep as many gallery rooms open as possible, adding: "The National Gallery has increased the number of rooms in which a gallery assistant invigilates to two rooms rather than one. This is not unusual or controversial in the museum and gallery field.

"Quite the contrary - the majority of galleries within London, throughout the UK, across Europe and far beyond all employ similar systems.

"The change has been made because the National Gallery and others believe this to be a more effective and reliable means of invigilation and it has been implemented with the full approval of the current national security adviser. The security of the collection is of paramount concern to the National Gallery."