TIMELINE OF THE STRIKE

24th of June 2020 – Tate Enterprises announces the start of a consultation process to make what is believed to be over 200 staff members redundant in the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdown. 

5th of July – Government announces an art sector bailout package worth 1.57 million – 7 million of which is though to be earmarked for Tate Galleries. It quickly becomes clear that Tate intends to use none of these monies to save jobs in Tate Enterprises 

 

12th of August - consultation period for redundancy process ends, and 313 redundancies are officially announced by Tate Enterprises (about half of the work force). Emails leaked by @thewhitepube shows managers who are themselves facing redundancy are asked to score other staff’s performance, to determine who stays and how goes. Many managers refuse to take part in this process, 

 

21st of August – Tate Enterprises workers at risk of redundancy receive an email from their HR department advising them that Tate visitor experience roles are being advertised by Securitas (whom Tate outsources many roles to) - Zero hour contracts for a company which does not recognises PCS. (PCS had requested Tate considers redeploying staff at risk of redundancy instead of letting them go.) 

22nd of July – PCS Tate members start a ballot for strike action to fight the redundancies 

27th of July – Tate Modern re-opens to the public, PCS Tate members protest outside the main entrance 

7th of August – Tate Modern decides to staff the SteveMcQueen exhibition with staff from Securitas, whom it outsources a number of roles to, instead of considering redeploying staff at risk. 

 

Result of the strike ballot counted, Tate PCS members vote to take strike action (over 80% of voting members in favour). Tate Strike fund is launched and reaches £1000 in only 24 hours 

8th August – Tate management tries to break the strike by calling all retail workers back from furlough (even though many had been told they would remain on furlough for the remainder of their notice period) Tate management misjudges the start of the strike, calling back staff one week prior to the strike action being due to start. This goes against all COVID-19 guidelines previously circulated, putting both staff and customers at risk. 

18th of August – Tate workers start their strike action to fight against 313 people being made redundant from Tate Enterprises, the commercial arm of Tate Galleries. Workers at Tate St Ives starts morning protests in support of colleagues at risk in London. 

Artists, educators and other culture workers start showing their support by sending through statements of solidarity with the striking workers. 

Tate tries to break the strike by asking (demanding) Tate Eats staff work in the retail shops – Tate Eats staff are also facing redundancies, and PCS find out they have been told by Tate management that they are not eligible to join a union. This is illegal. 

19th of August – Turner Prize bursary support recipients for 2020 issue an open letter in support of the strike. 

20th of August – The first mystery artwork – ‘Inverted Fountain’- appears in the L1 toilets of Tate Modern in support of the strike.

21st of August - Workers on picket lines at Tate Modern discover Tate has started to use alternative entrances for staff to enter the building, to avoid having to walk past picket lines. This is in direct conflict with H/S regulations put in place for COVID-19. 

22nd August – The first large-scale protest organised outside Tate Modern, with support from Jeremy Corbyn, Mark Leckey, Zarina Muhammad, Juliet Jacques, Vanessa Fenton, Sunnah Khan and Sheena Patel.

24th of August – PCS Tate members move to indefinite, all out strike action.

26th of August – A letter is published in Tribune Magazine, signed by 125 arts educators in support of the strike.

 

28 August – Tate management emails staff at risk of redundancy to let them know if they are being made redundant or kept, on a Friday night before a Bank Holiday weekend. Some emails are sent as late as 11.30pm.

31st of August Mildred the Tate Cat comes out in support of the strike…. 

Artist Sol Calero withdraws from producing a limited-edition print for the Tate Edit shop in support of the strike.

 

3rd of September – Jacob Rees-Mogg claims striking Tate workers can per definition ‘not be hard working’, drawing further attention and support to the strike…. 

4th of September – Protest outside Tate Modern with support from Glamtifa/Queer house party, Ash Sarkar, Owen Jones and Tina Grace.

12th of September - protest march from Tate Modern to Whitehall to protest the huge job losses announced by NT, Southbank Centre and Tate Galleries, with speeches from supporters including Owen Jones. 

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ABOUT US

Representing PCS union members in Tate galleries, a member-led branch of PCS Culture Group, opposing job losses and fighting for the future of the staff at one of the United Kingdom's most iconic arts organisations.

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For more information or to join, visit pcs.org.uk

Content © Tate United, 2020