Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Doll Is Still Ranting: Stop Privatisation At The National Gallery

While I am in protesting mood... how about joining me in signing the petition against privatising 400 of the 600 staff at the National Gallery? Some 200 staff members have been on strike on and off over this issue since February 2015 and since August the strike has become indefinite. The petition is due to be handed in to the new Director, Dr Finaldi, and Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey next week on Thursday 3rd Sept 2015. So hurry up and sign now!

Do you want a private security firm to manage the gallery's security and interaction with the public? ("There is no leaflet here for you. Step back and move along please.") The argument is:

  • that the NG needs to be more flexible with its opening hours and with "out of hours events" in order to get more money "funding". (I suppose it must reckon that it's current employees and systems aren't sufficiently adaptable for such a task.) 
  • The NG assures us that there "will be no redundancies". The effected staff will transfer to the new provider and maintain their existing contracts and service conditions. 

Explain the logic of these two ideas side-by-side? How does that work?  Why can't they just say..."We can't afford to employ these people so we will pay someone else to do so."

I dislike the idea of workers being forced to change employer and contracts in order to keep their jobs. And I get fed up with treating information providers as interchangeable units. "Sorry, don't know any more than what's on the leaflet.. I was based over at Imperial War Museum until yesterday."  I am also tired of the idea that an outside firm naturally provides better service than in-house employees. It seems to me that when this idea fails... and it does... outside service providers are all too often NOT held accountable for irresponsible actions or shoddy service - be it in border security, prisons, health care, hospital catering, cleaning or wherever. They get handed another service to run instead.
It is beginning to seem to me that keeping services "public" in "public" institutions is the only way to keep the providers of these services accountable. Privatisation, or should I say "outsourcing", doesn't appear to provide accountability. But who cares about accountability when money is to be made or saved?
Sign the petition!

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