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Gallery contract

The National Gallery has appointed the multi-national security contractor Securitas to manage some visitor facing and security staff services at the Trafalgar Square visitor attraction. The five year contract is worth £40m.

Securitas points to its track record in security and visitor engagement roles within the arts and culture sector globally. The security firm says that its key concern is to ensure that all gallery staff are kept fully informed about the partnering, and that those people directly affected by this change are provided with all the relevant information and advice they may need.

No members of staff will be made redundant in this process and all affected staff will continue to be paid the London Living Wage. All those staff affected will have the option to move to Securitas with the same terms and conditions and remain part of the National Gallery family (just like their fellow staff members who are employed by DOC, Antenna and Peyton & Byrne).

The firm adds that the National Gallery is one of the last major national museums and galleries to take this step of appointing an external partner to manage these services.

A union representing workers at the National Gallery has been running a petition calling for a halt to what they see as privatisation of front-of-house jobs including security. See also the ‘no privatisation at the National Gallery’ Facebook page. On July 29 Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “Our members in the National Gallery have been engaged in a heroic struggle to defend the functions of a national institution. They have taken 52 days’ strike action so far and are prepared to take more. Accordingly, we have served the employer with notice today of more sustained action in August. This dispute is not going to quietly disappear, and we call again on the employer to engage seriously with us to find a resolution.”

Like other similar venues such as the British Museum, striking and picketing staff say that they are defending their pay and conditions and in-house status.

What they say

Sir Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery said: “The Gallery needs an experienced and competent partner to support it now and in the future and we believe that Securitas is the best possible partner for us. This is the right decision for all our staff and for the future of our Gallery.”

And Brian Riis Nielsen, Country President and Managing Director from Securitas UK said: “We are delighted that the National Gallery have chosen Securitas as their future partner and are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with both the National Gallery and their staff.”

Securitas works at the Royal Armouries (Leeds), National Gallery of Denmark, National Gallery – Prague, DDR Museum – Berlin, Art Institute of Chicago, The Jewish Museum – Berlin, Natural History Museum – Berlin, Museum of Modern Art – Lille, and Alhambra Museum – Granada.

About the firm

Securitas reports that it operates in over 54 countries and employs over 320,000.


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