PCS is holding a rally in parliament from 6.30pm on Wednesday (9 May) to highlight how jobs and services at our national museums and galleries are being impacted by government cuts and privatisation.
Privatisation in our culture sector isn’t working. The collapse of Carillion, which provided support services at the British Museum, is just the latest example.
Government cuts have driven the privatisation agenda at the expense of the services provided and the workers who provide these services.
The 100 facilities management and cleaning services staff on the British Museum contract are now being paid by the receivers and face an uncertain future.
PCS is seeking urgent talks with British Museum management and we are calling for our members’ jobs, pensions and terms and conditions to be protected and for their jobs to be brought back in-house.
The rally has been organised to support our members - to discuss how privatisation is failing public services, with specific reference to culture areas like the Tate, Imperial War Museum and the National Gallery, and to engage with MPs on this issue.
Where: House of Commons - Committee room 5.
When: Wednesday, 9 May 6.30-8pm.
- Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary
- Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy
- Kevin Brennan, shadow minister for arts and heritage
- Chris Stephens, PCS parliamentary group chair
- Clara Paillard, PCS culture group president
- Janice Godrich, PCS president (chair).
Action 1: Email your MP and ask that they attend the meeting and meet you. Suggested text to be used in the email is below. Find your MP’s email address on the parliament.uk website
Action 2: Make every effort to attend the meeting in person.
Suggested email text:
I am writing as your constituent to ask you to support members of staff who provide vital support services at our national museums and galleries by attending a rally in parliament on 9 May.
The recent collapse of multinational Carillion, who provided support services at the British Museum, is the latest example of why privatisation in our culture sector is not working.
Many of the 100 staff that provide facilities management and cleaning services were outsourced by British Museum to the failed multinational Carillion back in 2013 against their will. Because of the collapse of Carillion these workers are now being paid by the receivers and face an uncertain future.
PCS, the trade union which represents these workers, is calling for the workers’ jobs, pensions and terms and conditions to be protected and for their jobs to be brought back in-house.
I agree that the best way to safeguard the services these staff provide is to bring them back in-house like other public service bodies have already agreed to do.
This damaging impact of privatisation as a response to cuts in government funding is not limited to British Museum:
• The Imperial War Museum privatised its gallery services back in 2014. The private contractor Shield collapsed in 2016 and was bought up by private firm Noonan leaving staff unsure of the future of their pensions.
• The National Gallery privatised 400 workers back in 2015 despite a high profile campaign opposing it. Private company Securitas has since refused to honour promises and has been less than cooperative with workers represented by PCS. Meanwhile the National Gallery itself has de-recognised the union arguing that most of its members were now working for Securitas.
• Some of Tate’s visitor services were provided by Wilson James who used zero hours contracts and paid their employees far less than Tate. PCS members won union recognition and parity of pay after their EqualiTate campaign. But in 2017 the contract was passed on to Securitas who immediately derecognised the union.
I would like you to show your support for workers who play a vital role in making our national museums and galleries highly popular attractions for visitors from across the world.
Please show your support by attending a public meeting in parliament on Wednesday 9 May in committee room 5 from 6.30-8pm.
Article updated at 10.45am, 4 May to reflect change of committee room.