National Gallery privatisation row strike ends after deal with PCS union


A long-running dispute at the National Gallery in London over privatisation has been resolved.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union have been on strike for more than 100 days in protest at the privatisation of visitor and security services.

The union said its members had voted unanimously to return to work after an agreement was reached.

The union said it had opposed the privatisation of the gallery's visitor services but regretted being unable to prevent it going ahead.

The union was also seeking reinstatement of a union representative who was sacked during the dispute.

A union statement said: "We are, however, pleased to have reached an agreement with the gallery and contractor Securitas that would mean protection of terms and conditions and a return to work for our senior rep Candy Udwin.

"We thank the new director, Gabriele Finaldi, and the company for their commitment to genuine negotiations.

"Strike action is being suspended pending ministerial approval and a ballot of our members over the deal, which also includes union recognition with the company and the London living wage."

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We are pleased to have reached this agreement and, on behalf of the union, I would like to pay particular tribute to Candy, who is looking forward to returning to the job she loves, and to all our members at the gallery.

"We still do not believe privatisation was necessary but we will work with the new company and the gallery to ensure a smooth transition and, importantly, to ensure standards are maintained at this world-renowned institution."