PCS members, under threat of redundancy at Tate Commerce, were left feeling betrayed last week, as it was discovered the Tate had hired an additional 18 outsourced gallery assistants to work at the Steve McQueen exhibition.
The Tate has confirmed in an email to PCS that it has requested an additional 18 staff, from its contractor Securitas, to cover the Steve McQueen exhibition, despite itscommercial arm making more than 200 staff redundant, betraying these members. While Tate defends its decision by clarifying these are only "short-term roles" this will come as little comfort to those staff who are imminently facing the axe. It demonstrates a clear disregard for those staff who have dedicated years of service to the Tate, and have helped Tate Enterprises become one of the most successful commercial arms of any gallery. Regularly raising over £2.5million for the Tate
This comes as the latest in a long line of decisions by the Tate which have angered PCS members, including the attempts by the employer to undermine their lawful strike action. First by incorrectly telling large numbers of staff that they couldn't go on strike, and then returning all staff from furlough (regardless of the health and safety implications) in order to break the strike. These moves clearly show the real face behind the Tate's liberal facade as an employer. This has been further exposed by its defence of, and continued relationship with art dealer Anthony D'Offay.
PCS is clear that the redundancies at Tate Commerce are unnecessary. We are asking for just 10% of the expected government bailout of the gallery to save hundreds of jobs. Members of the union and the public alike are right to ask, if the financial situation at the gallery is so dire, then why are their senior executives still earning eye watering salaries way over £100,000?
PCS have given the employer notice that our members will be striking on the 18, 19, 21 and 22 August with further dates to be announced on Monday. If like us you feel that these redundancies are unjust, and Tate has acted poorly as an employer you can help PCS members at Tate Enterprise in the following ways:
1) Attend the post-picket protests from 11.30am on 18 August and 22 at Tate Modern and 21 August at Tate Britain.
2) Donate to our PCS Tate Commerce Strike fund.
3) Tweet/Post your support for PCS Tate Commerce members using the #CrisisInCulture