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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 September 2020

Tate strike: "Coronavirus - no reason to fire us!"

Tate workers striking August 2020

Tate workers striking August 2020   (Click to enlarge)

Striking Tate workers in the PCS union chanted "Coronavirus - no reason to fire us!" on their strike protests as they moved into indefinite action. As visitors have queued to get into the Tate Britain and Modern galleries in London, they've noticed a far more realistic exhibition of the reality facing workers than any of the art showings inside.

To many, Tate has an almost progressive image, carefully cultivated by the management team. But as with many others in the culture sector over the last few years, this is a fallacy. Like the 'independent' Picturehouse cinemas and the National Gallery, workers have found that the management regime feels just like any other company, with brutal bosses meting out redundancies and attacks on pay and conditions.

Tate workers are facing 313 redundancies as management blame falling customer numbers because of Covid-19. But they are in line to receive a 7 million bailout from the government. The growing lines of visitors after Tate reopened shows how short-sighted this is.

But despite these pleadings of hardship, PCS now reports that management have been pressuring workers to cover the jobs of strikers, and have even looked to employ assistant visitor jobs through the outsourced contract with Securitas. This shows that money is no object to trying to break a strike.

In an indication of management vindictiveness, workers were kept waiting, only emailed at 11.30pm on a bank holiday Friday, to find out whether they even still had jobs!

There needs to be a fight for the money to keep what are often low-paid workers in a job. And, if necessary, the galleries should be taken into public ownership to be run in the interests of the workers and the majority of society.

The strikers are determined to force management back. They have held tremendous strike rallies, addressed by Rob Williams from the National Shop Stewards Network alongside Jeremy Corbyn and many other supporters. This solidarity needs to be stepped up now as the action is cranked up.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 2 September 2020:


News

Tory schools chaos - unions must fight for safety

Eviction ban extension not enough: make it longer, forgive the arrears!

Don't blame asylum seekers for Tory cuts

News in brief


Disability and Covid

Capitalism cause of disproportionate disabled deaths and isolation


No going back series

Welfare after Covid-19


Workplace news

Demand a fightback from the TUC and unions

Tate strike: "Coronavirus - no reason to fire us!"

B&Q worker reinstated: Organised response successfully challenges unfair dismissal

West Midlands journalists strike against pay and job cuts

Support Ikea workers - reinstate Richie Venton

London bus drivers poised for strike action


Join the socialists

Socialism on the rise


International

Fight racism, Trump and capitalism

Mass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation

Trotsky online rally - watched across the world


Campaigns

No Covid penalty on our future

Black Lives Matter: Fighting injustice, fighting for our rights

Nottingham: Socialists and anti-racists oppose right-wing march

No to polluting incinerator, dumped in working-class Edmonton

Scrap hospital parking charges

Liverpool: Support 15% pay rise for NHS

Lincoln: Save Drill Hall

Fundraising: An example to follow


Reviews

TV: Once Upon a Time in Iraq

Manctopia: billion pound property boom


 

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