Help National Gallery Educators seek justice at Employment Tribunal

by National Gallery Educators

Help National Gallery Educators seek justice at Employment Tribunal

by National Gallery Educators
National Gallery Educators
Case Owner
National Gallery Tribunal shifts gig economy spotlight to public sector
on 16th July 2018
pledged of £90,000 stretch target from 1597 pledges
National Gallery Educators
Case Owner
National Gallery Tribunal shifts gig economy spotlight to public sector

Latest: July 1, 2019

News since we won our case

To all our supporters 

Thank you for your support and understanding over the last 4 months since our Tribunal Judgement was announced. 

On 28 February, Judge A M Snelson ruled our employment …

Read more

Jeremy Corbyn MP message of support:

Stella Creasy MP message of support:

Who we are

We are a group of 27 artists and art lecturers who have worked regularly for the National Gallery for decades: from at least ten years to over forty years. Over this time, we have delivered the daily programme of talks, courses and workshops that the Gallery offers its visitors.

In October 2017, we were dismissed from the Gallery, with no recognition of our history of employment. We have been forced to take legal action and we are bringing a case of unfair dismissal. But we need your help. Please contribute now to help us fund this legal effort and share this page on social media to help get the word out.   

We are standing up for fair treatment for staff in the arts and to protect the teaching expertise at the heart of our museums.

We are asking for our longstanding contribution to the Education Department of the National Gallery to be recognised and valued. We are asserting our rights as employees, and at a minimum ‘workers’: until our recent unfair dismissal, we worked regularly for decades, with a passionate commitment to the Gallery’s learning programmes.

We have had the privilege to help thousands of visitors connect with the paintings in our national collection. We have come to deeply love the Gallery, its paintings, and their potential to engage and inspire, through meaningful face-to-face encounters. We are proud of, and passionate about, the work we do.

Our case 

We are asking to be recognised as employees (and at a minimum  ‘workers’), and not self-employed. We are bringing a case of unfair dismissal and claim that the National Gallery has discriminated against members of our group, in respect to longevity of service, sex and age. We have rights to consultation and retrospective holiday pay.

Despite the day-to-day reality of our integrated working relationship, the National Gallery insists we were self employed. We have been denied the protection and rights we were due as employees or workers.  

We were paid through the National Gallery payroll, taxed at source and wore staff passes. We were required to attend staff training and team meetings and received formal reviews of our work. But we had no job security or employment rights, including holiday pay and sick pay.

The Gallery has shown no interest in conciliation, despite our attempts to raise concerns personally with the Director and senior staff. It is with disappointment and sadness that their behaviour has led us to this point of bringing a legal claim.

The Gallery offered our group of 27 long-serving educators just eight permanent employment contracts, on greatly reduced salary and terms, to which we do not consent.  

This isn't just about us

We are taking a stand against the exploitation of ‘bogus’ self-employment in the arts. We believe in the importance of arts education and believe artists and educators deserve to be valued and treated fairly.

This is a topical area of law: it is a new public body case in the wake of private sector employment disputes against employers such as Uber, Deliveroo, Pimlico Plumbers and Hermes. 

The National Gallery is a non-departmental public body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We have reason to believe the Gallery has made deliberate attempts over several years to evade awarding us fair employment status.

Making law for all workers

Our case could have far-reaching consequences. Tribunal will decide on a question of law that would benefit everyone with 'worker' status, across all sectors. 

We need money to pursue this case

Since we started our crowdfunding campaign, our case has grown in size and complexity. Our Tribunal hearing has been extended to ten days and we've had three Preliminary Hearings on 16 July, 14 September and 10 October. 

We are encouraged by the length of time the Judge has allowed to hear our case, but we can’t afford to get there without your support.

Our ten-day hearing starts on 26 November and we've been forced to raise our target to £90,000 to cover our legal costs. 

We have a fantastic legal team in Gordon Dadds LLP and Chris Milsom at Cloisters Chambers.

Please give as much as you can and share widely. 

Connect with us on Twitter and Instagram at @StandWithNG27, or on our Facebook page (search 'Stand With NG 27').

Connect with us on Twitter and Instagram at @StandWithNG27, or on our Facebook page (search 'Stand With NG 27').

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Update 25

National Gallery Educators

July 1, 2019

News since we won our case

To all our supporters 

Thank you for your support and understanding over the last 4 months since our Tribunal Judgement was announced. 

On 28 February, Judge A M Snelson ruled our employment status at the National Gallery was 'worker' and not self-employed:

We have been working hard to ensure our rights are recognised in light of this Judgement and we are pleased to be able to share an update with you today. 

We have now been successful in agreeing settlement, and we want to take this opportunity to recognise the crucial role played by our funders in enabling our case to be heard and the positive Judgement to be reached. 

See our joint statement on the National Gallery's website here:

We are proud to have taken a stand, honoured to have you stand with us, and delighted to learn our case is already having an impact on employment practice in the sector.  

We are indebted to everyone who has taken the time and energy to help us every step of the way: our friends, family, colleagues, Parliamentarians and of course our legal team at Gordon Dadds and Chris Milsom of Cloisters Chambers. It's been a huge team effort and one we shall never forget. 

Thank you 


Jo Hone Photography

Update 24

National Gallery Educators

March 2, 2019

Lib Dems: 'Employment law must be rewritten'

In response to the ruling on our case, the Lib Dems have issued a Press Release. 

Read it here:  

Lib Dems: ‘National Gallery 27’ ruling shows employment law must be rewritten

Following today’s landmark judgement by the Employment Tribunal on the National Gallery 27, declaring that its team of educators were workers entitled to basic employment rights, Liberal Democrat DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

"This is a great victory for employment rights but a huge embarrassment for the Government. They sat by whilst a public body funded by tax payers used the worst kind of employment practices.  These 27 brave individuals who worked for the National Gallery should never have had to take this legal case on and today's decision should shame the Government.

“For too long, businesses have been able to get away with depriving workers of their rights through dodgy self-employment schemes, facilitated by confusing and outdated employment laws.

“Employment rights must be strengthened by requiring businesses, rather than individuals, to prove someone’s employment status at a tribunal when there’s a dispute. The Liberal Democrats would also create a new ‘dependent contractor’ status to enshrine the pay and rights of workers in the gig economy.

“I hope today's decision encourages the Government to act, so that other workers do not suffer as the National Gallery 27 have”.


Update 23

National Gallery Educators

Feb. 28, 2019

We won! Judge rules we were workers

We are excited to finally have the opportunity to share with you the news we’ve all been waiting for. 

This afternoon we received our Judgement and are delighted the Judge has agreed we were workers

The Employment Tribunal found we were workers, despite having been denied our legal right to this status by the National Gallery for decades. The Tribunal Judge concluded that “in short, the Claimants worked ‘for’ the Gallery as members of its team of educators”.

Read our Press Release with quotes from the Judgement here:

We are so grateful to all of you for the amazing support we have received over the last 17 months. 

We also want to thank our incredible legal team at Ince Gordon Dadds LLP and barrister Chris Milsom of Cloisters Chambers who have believed in our case and its importance from the start. 

We hope you will be able to read more about us over the coming days.
This isn’t the end of our fight and we still need to ensure that our full rights are acknowledged as a result of this judgement. This is such a momentous day for us.
Updates will be posted here, so please do visit to find out more.

#standwithNG27 #employmentrights #artseducation #artseducationmatters#museumeducation #museumed #education #workersrights #gigeconomy #arthistory#museumlife #goals #watchthisspace #tribunal #tours #crowdfunding #goals#employmentlaw #breakingnews

Update 22

National Gallery Educators

Jan. 26, 2019

Museums sector 'awaits result of National Gallery case'

As we wait for the Tribunal Judge to give his Judgement, we are grateful for the  messages of interest in how things are progressing. 

We will be sure to alert our crowdfunding backers as soon as we know the outcome. We know we would never have had our voices heard without their support - and we are still crowdfunding to cover our costs. 

This article in the Museums Journal notes that the Judge's decision is eagerly anticipated by museum and gallery professionals, as our case 'has put the spotlight on working practices across the sector'.

We hope to have an update to share with you soon. 

In the meantime, here is a selection of the most recent reports on our case and its relevance: 

Underpinned, 15 January 2019

Museums Association, Museums Journal, 12 December 2018

Museums + Heritage Advisor, 3 December 2018

The Arts Professional, 29 November 2018

a-n, 27 November 2018

Artforum, 27 November 2018

The Art Newspaper, 26November 2018

The Times, 26 November 2018

The Independent, 26 November 2018

Update 21

National Gallery Educators

Dec. 16, 2018

Our Hearing is ongoing - we need your help

At our Tribunal Hearing (started 26 November) the Judge decided we would need to add an extra date for the Barristers' Submissions, followed by Deliberation and Judgement. 

Our case has grown, and so have our legal costs. 

Please help us continue to crowdfund this important case and seek justice - every donation goes towards our legal costs. It has been a long, complex, exhausting and expensive journey, but we are nearly there. Together we can reach our goal and take a stand against the gig economy and 'bogus' self employment. 

Update 20

National Gallery Educators

Dec. 11, 2018

@StandWithNG27 this Christmas

As we count the days until the outcome of our Tribunal Hearing, we still urgently need to crowdfund our legal costs. 

We're offering a reward tour for every generous donation of £200 -  the ultimate eco-friendly ethical Christmas gift to share with friends and family!

Use the reward button to make your donation, and we'll be in touch to arrange your tour - or let us surprise someone with an NG27 voucher for a tour in 2019 (tours can be booked at any time over the next 12 months)

One of our expert NG27 art lecturers will lead your group on a private, bespoke tour of a London art collection, on a theme of their choice - choose from the National Gallery, Tate Modern, the Wallace Collection and more. 

Thank you for standing with NG27! We wish all our supporters a joyous, art-filled holiday season. 

Update 19

National Gallery Educators

Dec. 7, 2018

LATEST: Tribunal submissions due 18/12. Your support is vital to our success.

Following nine days in court, including hearing evidence from NG27 and the National Gallery, the judge and both legal teams have agreed a revised schedule for the remainder of our Tribunal. The barristers' submissions will now be heard on December 18th, beginning at midday. Deliberation and judgement will follow - watch this page for more updates.

It has been an extraordinary journey, but we're not there yet. We need your help to cross the finish line. Please could you donate another £10, or as much as you can, and help us reach our goal. We are so very grateful for your support. Together we can do this!

Update 18

National Gallery Educators

Nov. 30, 2018

NG27 claimants impress at Tribunal

We moved a step closer to justice today. At Tribunal NG27 claimants spoke with clarity and conviction and remained composed under cross-examination.

Tribunal continues.

Update 17

National Gallery Educators

Nov. 26, 2018

NG27 tribunal starts today!

"This is a hugely important case with significant implications in the wider fight for employment rights, and I offer my full support and solidarity to you and all those standing up for fair treatment and basic rights for the staff involved" Jeremy Corbyn

Update 16

National Gallery Educators

Nov. 26, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn backs NG27 as Tribunal begins

Jeremy Corbyn and cross-party MPs pledged their support for NG27 at a meeting in Parliament on November 21st. Jeremy said: "This is a hugely important case with significant implications in the wider fight for employment rights, and I offer my full support and solidarity to you and all those standing up for fair treatment and basic rights for the staff involved." 

The meeting was hosted by Stella Creasy MP and Neil Coyle MP. Stella Creasy said: "The ramifications of this case go far beyond what happens to the 27 people taking a class action. It is about whether our public services are acting in an ethical fashion, not just how they pay people but how they treat people when they want to make changes, and what that means today when more and more are being classed as self-employed."

We take great heart from this support from our MPs and friends at Westminster as our Tribunal begins today.

Update 15

National Gallery Educators

Nov. 19, 2018


Please view and share our full Press Release here:

Update 14

National Gallery Educators

Nov. 18, 2018

MEDIA ADVISORY: Meeting of Westminster MPs, 21 November, 17:00


Where: For location, please email [email protected]

Stella Creasy MP and Neil Coyle MP host a meeting for MPs, unions and press with the group of 27 National Gallery artists and educators (NG27) who will have their employment status determined at Tribunal on 26 November.

This is a topical case of ‘bogus’ self-employment practices and the exploitation of precarious workers in the gig economy: The National Gallery insists the group were self-employed, but the 27 educators worked regularly for the Gallery for decades and paid their tax through the payroll.

This is a public sector case that follows high-profile cases in the private sector including Uber and Deliveroo. The National Gallery is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Employment Tribunal on 26 November will also decide a new point of law regarding consultation rights for all workers.

NG27’s campaign highlights recent cross-party pledges to increase the rights of vulnerable workers. The meeting welcomes MPs and representatives from the media.

[email protected]


Update 13

National Gallery Educators

Nov. 1, 2018

We've passed the £65,000 line!

Can you help us reach £90,000? 

Update 12

National Gallery Educators

Oct. 24, 2018

Some news to share from Preliminary Tribunal

Dear Supporters of NG27

We are getting close to the £65,000 target we set in July and we can't believe how much support we have received from so many people. We are incredibly grateful for and encouraged by every donation and message from people across the UK and around the world. 

We know people are standing alongside us because they care about the exploitation of artists and educators in our cultural institutions, and about the wider issues of 'bogus' self employment. 

Our case has grown in size and complexity over the last few months, which has led to important case management decisions. 

There are developments we want to share with you, following two additional Preliminary Tribunals on 14 September and 10 October 2018.

On 14 September, the Judge decided we must now focus all of our 10-day Tribunal hearing (from 26 November) on the issue of employment status. Tribunal will decide whether we were employees or 'workers' (and not, as the National Gallery insists, self employed) and we will be able to announce this decision after 7 December. 

We are throwing all our energies into this and are busy working with our fabulous legal team, Chris Milsom of Cloisters Chambers and Gordon Dadds LLP, to prepare our evidence and witness statements. 

We're also delighted to announce that at Preliminary Tribunal on 10 October, a further case-management decision was made which could mean, if we are successful, our case would have far-reaching consequences for all 'workers' in all sectors.  We look forward to sharing details of this with you as soon as we're able. 

Press and public interest

The critical issue of employment status and 'bogus' self-employment is a highly topical and changing area of law, and, unlike recent cases such as Uber in the private sector, we are bringing our claim against a public body. We must be prepared for our case to grow and gather public interest as we approach Tribunal in 5 weeks' time. 

We are forced to extend our crowdfunding for legal costs

Due to the increase in size and complexity of our case and the National Gallery's continued refusal to concede, our legal costs are set to increase. We are therefore increasing our target to £90,000. 

We hope you will help us through this next crucial phase, in the lead-up to Tribunal on 26 November 

Please can you take 5 minutes to do the following:  

  • ask 3 friends or colleagues to share our page - @StandWithNG27 #StandWithNG27
  • can you find one person to give £10? If everyone did this, we'd be almost half way to £90,000.  
  • consider our offer of a private bespoke gallery tour for donations of £200 or more - please spread the word!
  • look out for further Press activity over the next few weeks

We can't get to Tribunal and have our voices heard without you. 

Thank you for making this possible 

The NG27 artists and art lecturers

Please support and share:

Update 11

National Gallery Educators

Oct. 3, 2018

Give art a good home

Visit our auction today for affordable, original artworks by members of the NG27 group and friends, including Cathy Lomax, Jeremy Hutchison, Katrina Blannin and many more... 

Go to our shop front:

All proceeds will get us closer to our crowdfunding target and our Employment Tribunal in November. 

Please spread the word by sharing the link above - thank you!

#standwithNG27 #employmentrights #artseducation #artseducationmatters #museumeducation #museumed#education #workersrights #gigeconomy #arthistory #museumlife #artauction #drawings #forsale #artforsale #auction #artauction

Update 10

National Gallery Educators

Sept. 17, 2018

Who will you invite? Tailor-made reward now live

Donate £200 or more and claim a 1-hour tailor-made tour

This private tour is led by one of our NG27 art experts: book a bespoke tour for up to 20 people, on a theme of your choice, or select a highlights tour.

Collections include the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery and the Wallace Collection.

We will tailor your tour to suit any group or occasion: a birthday surprise, corporate entertainment for colleagues or clients, or a special event for your social network. Family groups with young children are very welcome too.

Your reward tour is valid until the end of 2019. We'll get in touch with you to discuss your tour and plan a date to suit you - or gift us to a friend and we'll contact them directly!

To claim this offer, select the reward button to make a donation. 

Please share this offer with friends who might be interested - together we will bring this important case to Tribunal.

Follow our journey:

@StandWithNG27 #StandWithNG27

Update 9

National Gallery Educators

Sept. 14, 2018

Today! Preliminary Tribunal 10am

Today is a big day for us on our journey to Tribunal with a Preliminary Tribunal at 10am this morning. 

Our 10-day hearing starts on 26 November so we’re working hard to reach our £65,000 target.

Please share this page with a friend today!

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and find us on Facebook for  updates on news and events...


#standwithNG27 #employmentrights #artseducation #artseducationmatters#museumeducation #museumed #education #workersrights #gigeconomy#arthistory #museumlife #goals #drawwithus #drawingevent #watchthisspace#newscomingsoon #artauction #drawings #tours #londontours #tribunal

Update 8

National Gallery Educators

Sept. 6, 2018

Our fundraiser auction hit the headlines

Thank you to everyone who placed bids and spread the word!

Further events to be announced soon...

Update 7

National Gallery Educators

Aug. 31, 2018

We're in the News again

Update 6

National Gallery Educators

Aug. 30, 2018

Our artwork sale is live!

Visit our eBay sale to buy affordable art and support our campaign - please share this link with friends - thank you!

Update 5

National Gallery Educators

Aug. 27, 2018

Update coming soon - our art sale starts on Thursday morning!

Our sale of NG27 artworks will now launch on eBay on Thursday 30 August.

We’ll post a link here once the sale is live...

Visit early to avoid disappointment!

Update 4

National Gallery Educators

Aug. 27, 2018

Bring more art and happiness into your home!

Announcing... an opportunity to buy some affordable art for your walls - and support our campaign for justice at the same time:


At 6pm this Wednesday (29 August) we are holding an auction sale of original artworks by NG27 artists and some of our closest artist friends. 

Please check here for a update on Wednesday at 6pm: we'll post the link to our eBay page, where you’ll be able to see all the artwork, make a bid or ‘Buy Now.’ 

All artwork is on paper (A6 size) and inspired by a painting in the National Gallery Collection - bidding starts at only £27. 

The auction is running for a brief 24 hours only, so please have a look and place your bids or purchases as early as possible to avoid disappointment!

Please do spread the word about the sale to friends, family and colleagues, the more the merrier! All the money we raise from these eBay sales will be transferred to our crowdfunding total. 

with huge thanks and gratitude,

NG27 x

Update 3

National Gallery Educators

Aug. 13, 2018

Another huge milestone - we're over half way to £65,000!

We are so thrilled to have over 1000 wonderful backers to take us forward to the next stage of our campaign. 

THANK YOU for your donations, messages and support. 

Now that we're over half way to reaching our target, we can extend our deadline and build more momentum:  look out for more #drawwithus events and further announcements @StandWithNG27 - including the launch of our first online art sale, coming soon!

Update 2

National Gallery Educators

July 21, 2018

We've smashed the £20K barrier! Thank you!

Thank you all for your really generous contributions. Since launching this week, we've been thrilled by all the support we've been getting. It's not over yet, though...

So here's what you can do to continue to support our campaign.

1. Share this page with 10 friends who you think might be interested. 

2. Share this page on your Facebook page, using the hashtag #standwithNG27.

3. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram (@standwithNG27) to keep up with the campaign and to read stories from each one of the 27 about their experiences.

Once again, thank you so much, and let's keep the momentum going!



Update 1

National Gallery Educators

July 16, 2018

First hurdle reached! Thank you all

We have cracked the 10K barrier today and are so thrilled and delighted for all your support. Thank you! There's more to go, so please share as widely as you can.

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