27 former employees of the London’s National Gallery will today begin legal action against one of the most famous art spaces on the planet in an employment tribunal which will conclude on December 7.
Now known as the “NG27” the group, formed of freelance lecturers, artists, and art historians, feel they are owed the same benefits as the gallery’s permanent staff. The dispute began in October 2017 when the group was dismissed by the National Gallery.
As anyone out there used to the often-difficult world of freelancing knows, there’s very little in the way of legal provisions available when work of this kind is terminated earlier than anticipated or expected. In a statement released online, the NG27 says: “We are asking for our longstanding contribution to the Education Department of the National Gallery to be recognised and valued. We are asserting our rights as employees, and at a minimum ‘workers’: until our recent unfair dismissal, we worked regularly for decades, with a passionate commitment to the Gallery’s learning programmes.”
The NG27 claims they “were paid through the National Gallery payroll, taxed at source and wore staff passes,” but now find themselves viewed by the institution as totally separate from it as a working entity.
They have recently met with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and can now list the long-standing Islington North MP as a supporter of their cause for workers’ rights.
The tribunal is set to run until early December.
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