400 gallery assistants for the National Gallery, in the heart of Trafalgar Square, have been given the news that their employment will be outsourced to a private company in the wake of a decision by the Gallery thought to be a cost-saving measure.
The news follows a litany of resignations within the gallery at more senior levels, following Director Nicholas Penny’s high-profile resignation just one week prior. When the measures were first discussed in November of 2014, the Gallery Executive stated that quality of service could not be guaranteed if the Gallery was not in charge of hiring and training, and that outsourcing would not even be a cost-saving measure. This month, however, has seen a reversal of the Executive’s position, as well as that of the Board of Trustees, who now argue that privatisation is the only option.
PPE and Economics students should be familiar with the arguments both for and against outsourcing, while HSPS students should see specifically the socioeconomic impacts of outsourcing in a space where predominantly young women suffer from the cuts to the arts.