At the Height of Tourist Season, Strikes Shut Down Barcelona’s Top Contemporary Museums

Workers at museums including MACBA and Fundación Miró demand better conditions.

Eight art institutions in Barcelona were shut down yesterday as a result of an indefinite strike declared by the subcontracted workers of the company Serveis Educatius Ciut’art, which provides front of house, education, and visitor services to the museums.

The strike saw the city’s top contemporary art museums—including MACBA, Fundación Tàpies, Fundación Miró, and La Virreina Centre de la Imatge—forced to remain close at the peak of the tourist season.

Meanwhile, the Historical Archive of Barcelona, the Design Museum, the Monasterio de Pedralbes, and the Music Museum were only partially affected by the strike, remaining open but with reduced services.

Workers from Serveis Educatius Ciut’art went to the eight art centers in question early Wednesday morning to protest against their working conditions, which they deem precarious. Recent budgetary reductions have seen the hours of some workers descend from 25 to nine per week, according to El País.

At MACBA, pickets gathered at the museum’s entrances to ensure its closure after realizing that the museum planned to remain open, a spokesperson told artnet News.

Meanwhile, police guarded the doors of the Fundación Tàpies while the subcontracted workers’ peaceful protest unfolded. “It’s annoying not being able to open today, but it’s a problem we need to solve,” Carles Guerra, the museum’s director, told El País.

artnet News contacted Serveis Educatius Ciut’art for comment on the indefinite strike this morning, but the company’s management team was in a meeting and no updates had been issued at the time of publishing.

MACBA is remaining closed today as well (except for its shop), as is the Historical Archive of Barcelona. Both institutions are at the heart of the conflict, as they are currently in the process of renegotiating the conditions of its privatized services.

The remaining six museums are expecting to resume normal activities and opening hours today.

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