|Volume 50 Number 29, August 1, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
As London art gallery the Tate Modern reopened, PCS members and supporters protested on July 27 over plans to cut more than 200 jobs.
The 9.30am protest, one of a series of actions taken by PCS, was part of the growing dispute over job losses at Tate Enterprise, where more than 200 workers are at risk of redundancy, across the most diverse teams at the Tate. Tate members are currently being balloted for strike action over the plans.
The protest, which was scheduled to coincide with the gallery's reopening, highlighted for visitors and others the huge job losses at both the Tate and other cultural institutions such as the Southbank Centre, Historic Royal Palaces and the National Theatre.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Today's protest shows our members' determination to save jobs and protect a culturally iconic site. Tate management have launched a massive attack on our members and they have no choice but to ballot for strike action to save their jobs.
"It is staggering that after receiving a £7m grant from the government, Tate has decided to treat loyal staff, who support some of our country's most important cultural sites, with redundancy. We will support our members in whatever they decide to do, including prolonged strike action."
The union has welcomed the government's investment of £1.57 billion into the culture sector, of which Tate is expecting to receive £7 million, but says that, with the scale of the redundancies across the sector, it falls woefully short of the needs of vital cultural institutions and those who work in them.
A statement from the union said: "We are determined, however, that whatever money is made available must be used to safeguard jobs and protect those staff that make our cultural institutions some of the most successful in the world.
"Culture sector workers are an intrinsic part of these institutions and contribute enormously to the fabric of culture and heritage in the UK. We are asking the Tate for an investment of just 10% of the additional money to save hundreds of jobs at Tate Enterprise, protect the poorest-paid staff, and invest in their most diverse teams. This would be a good start in showing that black lives, and black and minority ethnic workers, truly matter to the Tate.
"Join our socially-distanced protests at Tate Modern, starting at 9.30am in support of our members, but also workers across the culture and heritage sector. We must fight to preserve jobs and the diversity and vibrancy of our sector."