‘CORONAVIRUS is no reason to fire us!’ shouted over 150 strikers rallying outside the Tate Modern Gallery on Bankside yesterday afternoon.
The strikers were marking their 16th day of indefinite strike against 313 sackings by Tate Commerce.
Those made redundant were informed by email which referred to a ‘score on your selection criteria matrix’ after 9.30pm last Friday night.
PCS rep, Christina, told the crowd: ‘They thought we would give up once we knew who had been sacked but it has made us stronger.
‘We are continuing our strike for our colleagues and their families. Our strike is an inspiration.
‘We have had so many messages of support. Today, I have a message of solidarity from the CGT in France.’
Artist Heather Phillipson in a message said: ‘Tate’s integrity is in the dock.
‘It’s time to say no to the lowest paid paying the highest price. ‘If the system doesn’t work for everyone it’s time to dismantle the system.’
Other messages were read out from filmmakers Ken Loach and Lucy Beech and photographer Sunil Gupta.
Dom Cevasoli was with a group of crew and events from the BECTU union and told News Line: ‘We have suffered from a government policy of indecision and incompetence.
‘We haven’t received any aid so the entertainment industry has been hit hard.
‘In a time of crisis like this, the unions have got to get together – it’s one class struggle. There has to be more action to bring down this government.’
Tate Modern retail assistant, Lee, said: ‘It’s great to see so many striking. Even though many have kept their jobs, they are staying out.
‘I still haven’t been informed whether I have kept my job or not.
‘I am also an artist and I remember coming here thinking the Tate was the pinnacle but the way they are treating people has really sullied it and dirtied the waters.’
Art student Joseph Strang said: ‘I’m here to show my support for the strike as the same problems that prevail in institutions are prevailing in the art school.
‘At the end of the day, it’s the teachers and students that are suffering.’