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Tuesday 05 November 2019

National Portrait Gallery's three year closure: FDA response

Following the National Portrait Gallery’s announcement that it will close for almost three years, the FDA is urging its staff to immediately join a union.

The closure will take place during the construction phase of the gallery’s £35.5million revamp titled ‘Inspiring People’ and part funded through a grant awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The closure will inevitably lead to uncertainty, potential redundancies, and other complications for the museum’s staff.

This is why the FDA – the trade union representing senior staff in the gallery – is urging people to make sure they are supported and advised through this uncertainty and protected from these potential problems. 

Helen Kenny, FDA National Officer for the union’s Culture section, said: 

“We understand that the decision to close outright was a difficult one for the National Portrait Gallery to make, and that they’re rightly concerned about staff and visitor safety during its construction phase. However, the FDA is focussed  on the more than 250 people who work for this institution.

“That is why we are urging every last member of staff – whether they work with the paintings or with visitors, whether they curate exhibitions or sell tickets – to join a union. The National Portrait Gallery is in complete agreement on this, and has already asked us about the support we can offer.

“We are not certain what will happen. But we can be certain that whatever the future, it will be easier to face with the support of an independent trade union. The FDA has a wealth of experience helping members facing redundancy, and representing individuals struggling with all sorts of workplace problems.

“But you can’t join a union after you’ve been let go. You can’t get help after the risk of redundancy has been confirmed. Which is why we’re encouraging staff to take this opportunity to join a union, before it’s too late.”  

Notes for editors
1. The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS. 
2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union". 
3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec
4. For more information, contact:
Communications Manager Kay Hender
07980 700747 
kay@fda.org.uk
Communications Officer Tommy Newell
07738 729 145 
tommy@fda.org.uk
Communications Officer Laura Gilbert
07984 990 601
laura.gilbert@fda.org.uk
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