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Art educators bring dismissal case against National Gallery

TRIBUNAL: The artists and art lecturers say they were unfairly dismissed (Image: National Gallery Educators/Crowd Justice)

ART EDUCATORS who say they have been dismissed by the National Gallery following decades of working at the institution are taking legal action against the unfair termination of their employment.

The group of 27 plaintiffs, who are all artists and art lecturers, have worked for the gallery between 10 and over 40 years. They gallery insists they were all freelancers but the group says it was paid through a taxed PAYE system, vetted every few months, given staff passes, required to attend staff training and meetings.

The claimants allege they were effectively employees but did not have any job security, employment rights or holiday or sick pay. They are arguing that they have rights to consultation and retrospective holiday pay.

One employee affected by the changes, James Heard, has worked at the gallery for 45 years.


The group has also accused the gallery of age and sex discrimination.

The 27 are bringing a case of unfair dismissal against the gallery via an employment tribunal.

The National Gallery said in a statement: “The gallery has been issued with a number of different claims from a number of freelance workers who have been providing a range of different services for the gallery (and other museums and galleries across London) on an ad hoc basis for a number of years.

“These jobs were offered to all of our existing freelance service providers last year. We still have vacancies which are available, although unfortunately not all of the group have expressed an interest in these.”

The tribunal is scheduled for the end of the year. The group of artists and art lecturers are fundraising for the costs needed to pursue their case through a tribunal. So far a crowdfunding page has raised more than £15,000 of a £65,000 target.

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