Having previously voted twice to strike in the past year, workers at the Picasso Museum in Málaga, Spain, threatened a work stoppage once more, citing wages and working conditions that they claim are unequal to those of other Spanish art institutions.
A workers group at the museum announced plans to strike for five days in September, during a period when the institution is preparing to mount “The Echo of Picasso,” an exhibition set to open in October that will survey the artist’s influence on others across the years. The show is one of many being held around the world this year to mark the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death.
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Because this Picasso Museum is sited in Málaga, the place where the artist was born, its events may receive more attention than those of other Picasso Museums held around the world.
The strike is expected to take place September 18–22, and will last longer “if the company stubbornly continues in its failure to respect the current labour agreement and to evaluate the improvements to the fifth one that workers are requesting, such as the workday, flexible working hours, life-work balance and a sense of belonging to the institution,” the workers’ committee said in its announcement.
The committee said it had surveyed 10 other Spanish museums, including the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and the Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, and discovered that the wages given to workers at the Picasso Museum in Málaga are “far lower” than those other institutions.
A spokesperson for the Picasso Museum said the institution remained focused on celebrating its 20th anniversary and that it did not support the strikes.
Workers at the museum have protested several times this summer. On one day in May, they held three-hour strike that forced the museum to temporarily shutter a survey of Picasso’s sculptures. While visitors were left only to visit the permanent collection galleries, the workers stood outside the museum, where they wore masks recalling figures seen in some of Picasso’s most famous paintings.
In June, they also led strikes on two separate days, one of which coincided with when two cruise ships pulled into port.