Latest News

Thanks from Gallery members, after deal reached and Candy reinstated 

Gallery management refuse to overturn Candy's sacking

Positive signs after first week of indefinite action

Gallery management announce private 'partner' and all-out strike looms

All-out strike in the National Gallery set for August   

Next strike date and 'farewell to the Director'

Debate in Parliament and update on Candy interim judgment

Keep pressure on the Gallery after Interim Tribunal supports Candy

How you can support the National Gallery campaign

Join the call to #ReinstateCandy


Thanks from Gallery members, after deal reached and Candy reinstated

Following the recent agreement, which saw signficant progress made on  pay and conditions in the National Gallery for current and future staff; as well as the reinstatement of leading PCS representative Candy Udwin, the members of the National Gallery Branch have sent the following message to Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary:

"Dear Mark,
We are writing to put on record the thanks from the PCS National Gallery members for the support from PCS for our strike. 
We would like to thank you all personally and always say that the support we have received is a model of how a union should support their members.
From Day One we have known that we have had the full support of the union for our fight, and that has continued through all the ups and downs of the campaign.
We know that this has meant significant financial support from the union as well as a huge amount of hard work from virtually everyone who works at PCS. 
Please could you pass on our thanks to everyone who has been so fantastic. We would like to give a special mention to Emmanuel [Adeniji] and his team who have worked so hard to make sure our members got the financial support when they needed it; and to the Culture Sector admin team in Liverpool who have handled all the donations and messages of support.
We have suggested to our members that they sign up to the Fighting Fund to allow the union to keep supporting members fighting back and we hope that the outcome of our dispute helps to build PCS in the future.
Thanks again,


Graham Eve, Neville Maguire, Ian Hall, Colin Eeeles, Tom Loffill, Nicki Graham, Maria Alejandro Huicho, Candy Udwin
PCS National Gallery branch committee"

The agreement, which saw National Gallery members return to work on Monday 5 October after well over 100 days of strike action, shows clearly the major concessions that can be won when trade union members stand together.

PCS congratulates all those mostly low-paid members, who stood firm for so long; in order to secure those gains and the full reinstatement of their colleague; and for the present, we are continuing our fundraising efforts on behalf of those low-paid members.

PCS would also like to add our thanks to all of the trade union branches, organisations, and many members of the wider public, who have been so wholehearted in their support for the campaign (including support from as far afield as New York, Paris and Dublin).


Gallery Management refuse to overturn Candy's sacking

Despite the Employment Tribunal interim relief hearing deciding that a full Tribunal hearing is likely to rule that Candy Udwin has been sacked because of her Trade Union activities; National Gallery management have rejected Candy's internal appeal against dismissal.

PCS met with the new Director, Gabriele Finaldi, at the end of last week; and again pressed for management to do the right thing, by reinstating Candy and halting the privatisation.

If Dr Finaldi needs any encouragement, he needs only to look at the petition calling for the ending of the privatisation and the reinstatement of Candy. The petition has doubled in size from 60,000 to over 130,000 in the week since he took office. 

Positive signs after first week of indefinite action

The first week of indefinite action in the National Gallery, which started on 11 August, saw more support, more of the Gallery closed, more publicity, more people joining us to show solidarity, more money raised for our strike fund, and more signatures for our petition - which now numbers over 97,000 supporters and still growing.

PCS has also had initial talks with the National Gallery and with the private company, Securitas, and further talks are now planned. Importantly, the new Director, Gabriele Finaldi, has agreed to meet with PCS this week.

This week's action

The second week of the indefinite action includes the following events:

  • Picket lines every day 9.00-11.00am
  • Health workers join the picket line on Wednesday 19 August 10.00am
  • Unite Housing Branch join an additional picket line on Thursday 20 August 4.30-6.00pm
  • PCS London and South East region join an additional picket line on Friday 21 August 5.00-6.30pm
  • Solidarity Social on Friday 21 August 6.30pm (all welcome). Details to be confirmed on the campaign's Facebook page.
  • Rank and file building workers join an additional picket line on Saturday 22 August 11:30am-12:30pm.
Urgent appeal

With indefinite strike action underway, the Gallery strikers are making a fresh appeal for financial support; You can help the campaign in a number of ways:

  • By organising a collection at your workplace (a collection sheet can be downloaded from this page)
  • By donating to Sort Code 08-60-01; Account No. 20169002
  • By sending cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House, 1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG
  • By donating via PayPal

Candy’s Appeal

The interim relief judgement of the Employment Tribunal decided that, should the case have to go to full hearing, it is likely that a Tribunal would find that Candy had been dismissed for what were entirely legitimate Trade Union acitivities.

The management hearing regarding Candy’s appeal against dismissal has concluded. As yet, neither Candy nor PCS have been given any indication of the outcome, but look out for details on the PCS website for news as soon as it arrives.

Gallery management announce private ‘partner’ and all-out strike looms

PCS members in the National Gallery are making an urgent appeal for further support, following the decision by the National Gallery to appoint the private security company Securitas to undertake some visitor-facing and security functions in the Gallery.

PCS members, who have already taken 52 days of strike action in opposition to the privatisation and to demand the reinstatement of unjustly sacked PCS rep Candy Udwin, are striking again between 4-6 August. The Union, which has repeatedly urged management to work with PCS and the conciliation service ACAS to resolve the dispute, views the decision to announce the private sector provider now as a deliberately inflammatory move by Gallery management. Consequently PCS have now served notice on the Gallery that the Union plans to commence all-out continuous strike action from 11 August.

Debate in Parliament and Update on Candy interim judgement

Thank you for your fantastic solidarity.We continue to be overwhelmed by the solidarity shown to our strikers. Thousands of pounds have been raised for our strike fund, with collections of hundreds of pounds coming in each day, showing the growing backing we have nationwide.

Debate in Parliament

Our dispute was debated in the House of Commons. See the video here. Click on “Live Coverage” and go to 4.04 hours in. You can also view the transcript here.

It was also raised in the House of Lords.

Judge’s summing-up at Candy Udwin’s Interim Relief Employment Tribunal Hearing

You can read the Judge’s damning summing-up below:

“it actually says no more than that the claimant did what any employee, but perhaps more particularly one in the trade union looking for relevant material, could have done. That is, she accessed the respondent’s internet legitimately and found a document that was marked private and confidential. Having found the document she used it to do a calculation. That cannot be wrong or improper.

"....the claimant could have shared this with any other employee entirely legitimately. Instead, she told Mr Bemrose, her trade union national negotiator. I consider it highly likely that it will be accepted, as the claimant urges, that an internal trade union representative (here, the claimant) is at liberty to consult a senior national (i.e. external) trade union negotiator freely and openly with relevant concerns......I do not consider it likely that the claimant informing Mr Bemrose will be found to be culpable of blameworthy conduct, let alone gross misconduct........

"I consider it is likely that it will be accepted at the employment tribunal that the claimant was engaged in trade union activities. I further consider it likely that to the extent that Dr Foister did believe that it was gross misconduct, as to which I express no conclusion, the tribunal will find that she was wrong and that she had categorised it manifestly excessively. I consider that the information available to Dr Foister will be thought not to found a reasonable belief that what the claimant actually did was gross misconduct. That is, it is likely to be found that the publication to Mr Bemrose was not misconduct which the claimant was attempting to cloak with trade union activities as a defence. It actually was permissible trade union activities is what I consider an employment tribunal is likely to find.”

Keep Pressure on the Gallery after Interim Tribunal supports Candy

After the recent interim tribunal judgement, Candy Udwin is back on the National Gallery payroll; and the judge ruled it was likely a full hearing would find she had been dismissed for trade union activities. This vindicates the stand PCS has taken against her victimisation.

Keep the pressure up to demand the Gallery now reinstates Candy

Director Nicholas Penny who received a knighthood last week will hear Candy’s appeal against dismissal on 2 July.

You can send a Freedom of Information request to ask the very question that Gallery management consider so unreasonable.

Pressure is building, and the Gallery have finally been forced to agree to pay the Living Wage. Now PCS have asked the newly appointed Director Gabriele Finaldi who takes office in August, to help get the Gallery back into talks with PCS.

Invite a Gallery Speaker!

A speaking tour is underway; and we will try to meet requests for speakers all round the country, so please do get in touch via

Strikers still need your support!

Thank you for all your support that has allowed us to get this far. Please help us keep going!

The low-paid staff rely on our donations to help keep the campaign and the strikes going. So please do donate whatever you can. There are also other ways to donate to the strikers.

How you can support the National Gallery campaign

You can help support the PCS National Gallery campaign against privatisation and for the reinstatement of victimised PCS rep Candy Udwin in a number of ways, including:

There are more ways you can help and more information here

You can read our People’s Inquiry into the National Gallery here

Read Polly Toynbee calling on Gabriele Finaldi to intervene now to cancel the privatisation plans.

Join the call to #ReinstateCandy

In a cynical attempt to intimidate PCS members working in the National Gallery, management initially suspended and have now dismissed Candy Udwin, a key local PCS representative in the gallery.

The unjustifiable suspension of Candy has already attracted widespread public and media attention, and the group office has received both messages of support and financial donations from members of the public as well as from PCS members, which have been passed to the campaign's hardship fund.

PCS is urging people to sign a statement to reinstate Candy which has already been signed by thousands of supporters. As part of the campaign we are also asking people to upload photographs to Twitter, holding #ReinstateCandy posters, which you can download and use. These are then being added to a photostream on Facebook.

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