19 July 2018
Art educators who claim they were recently dismissed by the National Gallery are challenging their employment status at tribunal.
The 27 artists and lecturers were employed on a ‘freelance’ basis but were paid through a PAYE system and were subject to appraisals, wore official branded badges, received training, and were provided with offices and canteen access.
The educators claim they have been unfairly dismissed from their roles, with some still working for the Gallery but on lower paid casual contracts.
James Heard, who had been in his job for 45 years, said: “We are standing up for fair treatment for staff in the arts, and to protect the teaching expertise at the heart of our museums. Our national galleries are something the UK is extremely proud of and it is vital that the educators who hold the collective knowledge of these places are properly protected.”
His former colleague Jo Lewis, who had worked at the gallery for 16 years, added: “We are asking for our longstanding contribution to 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 commitment to the Gallery’s learning programmes.”
Marie-Therese Ross, who worked for the Gallery for 22 years, said the group had not only lost out on rights but had “been given no holiday or holiday pay and have been subjected to unfair dismissal, failure to consult and discrimination on the grounds of age, gender and trade union membership”.