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Protestors outside the “Picasso—Love, Fame, Tragedy” exhibition at the Tate Modern on April 14, 2018. Photo: Lydia Hughes.

Janitorial Workers Protest Outside Tate Modern

Tate Modern’s current exhibition, “Picasso—Love, Fame, Tragedy,” which received major funding from the London-based investment firm of Ernst & Young (EY), is being protested by janitorial workers, writes Alec Evans of the Art Newspaper. Members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) held up signs and distributed fliers outside the museum on April 14 to “make people aware of how these low paid migrant workers are being treated,” said a representative from the IWGB. “Cleaners provide such a vital service to our society, so we have to do what we can to ensure that their struggle is visible.”

ISS is the name of the company that oversees the cleaners’ contracts with EY. An EY spokesperson says that it will go through “a consultation process” with its employees and their representatives regarding “changes to [ISS’s] business.” EY’s representative went on to say that the firm “is a committed supporter of the London Living Wage and this is part of our contractual agreement with ISS.” The protests came after the museum renewed its three-year partnership with EY. “EY is a long standing supporter of UK arts and culture,” said the museum in a statement. “The Tate trustees first agreed upon a sponsorship policy in 1991, and incorporated its principles within an Ethics Policy in 2008. The Board and Ethics committee regularly review compliance with the policy.”

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