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Art experts dismissed by National Gallery sketch scenes from employment tribunal

Group of 27 artists and lecturers claim they lost jobs with ‘no recognition’ of their history of employment

12 December, 2018 — By Jane Clinton

Sketches made inside the employment tribunal

ARTISTS and lecturers have been documenting their struggle against the National Gallery with sketches from inside their employment tribunal.

The group of 27 have taken the gallery to tribunal in Holborn arguing they were dismissed with “no recognition” of their history of employment.

One supporter dressed up as the artist Hans Holbein to support the group who, between them, have provided more than 500 years of service to the gallery in Trafalgar Square.

In their crowdfunding page to assist with their legal fees, which has raised £73,000 of their £90,000 target, the group said: “We are taking a stand against the exploitation of ‘bogus’ self-employment in the arts.

‘Holbein’ lends his backing to the NG27

“We believe in the importance of arts education and believe artists and educators deserves to be valued and treated fairly.”

The group say they were paid through the company payroll, taxed at source, were required to attend training sessions and appraisals, and wore staff passes.

The gallery has denied that they were unfairly dismissed but would not comment while legal proceedings were under way.

In the past it has said the row had arisen due to its decision to change from offering adhoc to more secure employment with additional pension and worker benefits.

The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as well as Stella Creasy MP are among those who have voiced their support for the group.

Marie van der Zyl, who is the legal representative of the group and is a partner at Gordon Dadds LLP, said those working in the arts needed clarity regarding their employment rights so that they could be categorised “correctly”.

Cross-examination of the National Gallery’s senior management team began on Tuesday at the Central London Employment Tribunal in what was described by the NG27 group as “an emotionally exhausting week”.

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