Strike action at National Gallery this week will limit public access

Unions are protesting the privatisation of the gallery’s workforce

The National Gallery is the UK’s second most popular tourist attraction, and the fourth most visited in the world, receiving over six million people a year.

But this week visitors may struggle to access the art collection due to an ongoing row over the privatisation of the gallery’s workforce.

The strike will mean that some parts of the gallery will be closed to the public on 20,21 and 22 July.

The changes expected to come into force will see existing workers transferred to the employ of a private company while changes to the terms in gallery workers’ contracts are expected.

Unions argue this means working hours could be extended.

In a statement the gallery said: “The National Gallery needs to introduce new working practices for some visitor-facing and security staff to enable the National Gallery to operate more flexibly. There will be no job cuts and terms and conditions will be protected.”

The PCS Union, which represents more than 200 gallery workers said the strike is also in protest to the “unjustly sacked PCS rep Candy Udwin”, and to demand her reinstatement.

To find out which parts of the gallery are closed, click here for the National Gallery’s latest update.

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