Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Friday 26 April 2019

London's National Gallery taken to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal of art educators


Share This Article:

Twenty-seven educators are crowdfunding in the hopes of taking London’s National Gallery to court over unfair job dismissals in 2017.

The crowdfunding appeal has already reached £19,000 of the £65,000 needed to be achieved for a full employment tribunal hearing to take place in November 2018. The appeal comes after apparently twenty-seven lecturers, historians, artists and others were dismissed unjustly from their roles at the arts and culture institution in October 2017.

On the crowdfunding page, hosted on CrowdJustice, the educators say “We are asking for our longstanding contribution to the education department of the National Gallery to be recognised and valued.”

The claimants write that they were regular employees of The National Gallery, having a deep "love [for] the Gallery, its paintings, and their potential to engage and inspire, through meaningful face-to-face encounters. We are proud of, and passionate about, the work we do."

As well, the now ex-gallery employees state they were “required to attend staff training and team meetings and received formal reviews of work,”.  They were apparently paid through the gallery’s payroll and, it should also be noted, that the claimants have said that throughout their employment they never received or were never offered holiday nor sick pay.

The aim of the artists and historians crowdfunding is to win employee status from the gallery - not be labelled as freelance workers - and receive their rights and protection from the establishment.  One of the claimants, James Heard, had worked at the institution for 45 years - yet is apparently classed under this ‘freelance’ umbrella. 

Regarding the claims about unfair dismissal and the crowdfunding appeal, The National Gallery itself has issued a statement.  

“It is our understanding that claims have arisen out of the gallery’s wish to change from offering ad-hoc work to offering more secure employment.  This change reflects the gallery’s strategy to develop our programmes to increasingly reach new audiences and make the most of digital technology to widen our engagement.”

The statement continues “We believe that we have acted both lawfully and fairly in changing our service provision to one of secure employment.  “These [new] jobs were offered to all of our existing freelance service providers last year.  All claimants were consulted between October 2017-January 2018 for views on the transition.”

To see the full statement issued by the twenty-seven claimants, click here.

© 2019 is a website of BigChoice Group Limited | 201 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1JA | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974