A RALLY of over 200 PCS strikers from Tate Enterprises, employed at Tate Modern and Tate Britain galleries was held on Saturday outside the Turbine Hall entrance to fight 313 job losses.
The strikers have voted for indefinite strike from today, Monday August 24th and are demanding:
- 10% of the anticipated £7million government bailout money to be used to save jobs.
- No redundancies while some senior staff are paid £100,000+.
- If the money the government provides isn’t enough, the Tate should join PCS in demanding more.
One of the strikers, a researcher at Tate Modern told News Line: ‘This governments behind these sackings. On the day the Tate opened the Minister of Culture was at Tate Britain with the director of the gallery.
‘The 14 members of the Tate board are appointed by the Prime Minister.
‘It’s clear the gallery is following the policy of his government and vindicating elitism.’
Tube worker and RMT member Jane Gwynn told News Line: ‘I came here to support workers like ourselves who are expected to pay for this crisis which we didn’t cause.
‘Shop workers at the Tate are the lowest paid employees and are expected to pay with their jobs while Tate directors are willing to take handouts from the government but unwilling to support the lowest paid, the lifeblood of their organisation.’
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the rally saying: ‘What the Tate is doing could set a precedent for all cultural institutions.
‘Your strike in defence of jobs is defending the cultural future of the whole of society.
‘Corona has shown us that we need access to good health care and we have only got through so far because of our wonderful NHS staff.
‘Who is more important a hedge fund manager or a cleaner in a hospital?’
Nico Baldion from Heatherlies Art College in Chelsea addressed the rally saying: ‘The government bailout isn’t for workers, it’s gone to shore up six figure salaries for Tate Enterprise bosses.
‘Tate Enterprise should be publicly owned, you know better than the company managers. Nationalise Tate Enterprise under workers control!
Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey addressed the crowd to show his support for the strike saying: ‘There has to be access to art for the working class, There needs to be a different way of organising the art world.’
Young art critic Zarina Muhammad addressed the rally and won loud cheers for her speech saying: ‘It’s mad that we have to tell Tate that cutting 313 jobs (that’s half the Tate Enterprise workforce) in the middle of a pandemic is a bad idea.
‘It’s mad that they’re trying to do that while their senior staff and directorial class continue to be paid over £100k; and they tell us that we’re all in this together because they’re taking a 10% pay cut, but what’s 90% of £165,000?
‘This isn’t just about the Tate. It’s about an encroaching corporatisation of the arts.
‘It’s not just these 313 jobs, it’s the 365 jobs being cut down the river at Southbank, the 400 jobs being cut down at the National Theatre.
‘This move of mass redundancies is going to be followed by more casualised jobs with more precarious contracts; 23% of Tate Enterprise staff are already on zero hours contracts, and Tate are already emailing people to apply for outsourced zero-hour contract roles with Securitas.’
Other speakers were writers Juliet Jacques, Sheena Patel and Sunnah Khan, dancer Vanessa Fenton and Poets from the Picket Line.