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Posted on 9 February 2015 at 16:42 GMT

National Gallery strikers march down Whitehall

On Thursday 5th February, 100 staff at the National Gallery and their supporters marched down Whitehall from their workplace to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, handing in a petition almost 50,000 strong. National Gallery workers organised in the PCS union were on strike for five days from 3rd February because the majority of their jobs are threatened with privatisation.

National Gallery strikers' demonstration, 5.2.15, photo Paul Mattsson

Click for gallery. National Gallery strikers' demonstration, 5.2.15, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Some supporters of the campaign have described Culture Secretary Sajid Javid's decision to push ahead with privatisation as 'selling off the family silverware'.
Many of the workers on strike are already paid below the London Living Wage.

Immediately before the strike was set to begin, PCS union rep Candy Unwin was suspended from her job.

In just a few short days, 6,000 people signed a petition demanding her immediate reinstatement.

Before we set off to march, several strikers entered a National Gallery building where the Board of Trustees was meeting. A representative of Mark Getty, the billionaire Chief Executive of the Board of Trustees, was forced to accept a copy of the petition.

Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary, spoke at the strikers' rally outside, giving the union's full support to the striking workers and calling on the entire trade union movement to back them against victimisation. Angry staff were clear that they would strike again and again if privatisation is not stopped.

Ian Pattison

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 9 February 2015 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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