Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/485/2358
The Socialist 3 May 2007 |
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Picketing the Tate Modern
At the Tate Modern art gallery on London's Thames south bank, visitors from abroad viewed not modern art but a PCS union picket line instead. They were being introduced to a very angry group of mainly young workers who are normally seen by the visitors as gallery assistants (GA), there to guide the tourists from gallery to gallery.
Clifford, a 29 year old GA told me that he can hardly get by on his wages. "Half of my money goes on rent and council tax" he said, "it is hardly enough to get by with in central London, I have worked here for five years and we have had enough. When there are special exhibitions on we have to do even more work but we aren't paid any more.
"The latest thing is the plan by management to replace us with 'voluntary staff'. These are supposed to be people who know more about art than us but they work for nothing! It all comes down to the government treating civil servants like me with contempt".