London, 16 January 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA).
Security guards at the National Gallery will leave their posts on 19 and 28 January, as well as on 2 and 4 of February, when the “Leonard da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan” exhibition will be in full swing. 80% of staff that voted, did so in favour of going on strike.
The guards will be striking against the management’s wish to have security personnel monitor two rooms at once, as opposed to one. The management cites the 15% budget reduction imposed on the museum, and on many others both in the UK and abroad, as justification for the measures.
Consequently, the museum will probably have to close its doors due to the lack of security, which could lead to vandalising or even theft of artworks.
The situation is particularly delicate as many of the pieces in the exhibition have been loaned by other museums, often from overseas.
The strike is not unprecedented as in 2010 museum employees picketed at the entrance of the museum, demanding better salaries and working conditions. This led to the closing of five of 66 exhibition rooms.
The “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan” exhibition has already been a phenomenal success. There are no longer any tickets available for reservation and only a limited number will be available on the door each day.