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Stand with the National Gallery 27!

A RULING is expected in early January on the National Gallery 27 (NG27, @standwithNG27) – a group of art educators engaged by the National Gallery to give talks and lectures about the paintings to NG visitors, groups from schools in particular.

After many years of service, the NG27 were dismissed and asked to apply for a limited range of lower status, lower-paid jobs. The NG management asserts that they are freelance self-employed contractors; the NG27 claim they are effectively staff with rights to compensation for unfair dismissal and to holiday pay. The NG27 were for years – decades in some cases – on the NG payroll, with deductions made at source. They ate in the staff canteen and were expected to regularly attend training and undergo regular formal performance reviews.

The anticipated ruling follows a long Employment Tribunal hearing at the end of 2018, with extra trial days for submissions added. Crowdfunding has already raised £76,000 towards the NG27's legal fees at the time of writing.

London Freelance Branch Committee sent a message of support to the NG27 before the start of the Tribunal.

This said: "this case goes straight to the heart of issues around 'bogus' self-employment practices and the exploitation of precarious workers in the gig economy. We hope you have positive outcome from the Employment Tribunal… However, let us know if you need more support in other way. We could for instance write to your supporting unions with messages of solidarity/support. We have already shared your crowdfunding page on twitter and will continue to retweet as much as we can. Our union, the NUJ, will of course welcome any point of law which improves the consultation rights for all workers. We note that NG27's campaign highlights recent cross-party pledges to increase the rights of vulnerable workers."