Just a few months after their attempt to form a labor union, 28 guides have been dismissed from the PinchukArtCentre
in Kyiv, according to The Art Newspaper
. Founded in 2006 by billionaire art collector Viktor Pinchuk, the PinchukArtCentre is one of the most high-profile art institutions in Ukraine.
The head of the union representing the dismissed guides, Anastasia Bondarenko, wrote in an open letter that the group was “fired without any explanations or notifications after a series of threats. We believe that our union activity was the reason for our dismissal.” Bondarenko said the guides were not allowed to take sick leave and were given “shoestring contracts,” sometimes leaving them unemployed for months on end between exhibitions.
The PinchukArtCentre claimed its decision not to renew the guides’ contracts was intended to improve visitor experience and make room for innovation at the institution. A statement posted on the gallery’s Facebook page said: