Council urged to sell £60m Dali painting to fund equal pay bill

Trade union leader is urging Glasgow City Council to sell a famous Salvador Dali painting and put the funds towards the equal pay deal.

Glasgow City Council urged to sell £60m Salvador Dali painting to fund equal pay bill IStockPhoto

A trade union leader has urged Glasgow City Council to sell a famous Salvador Dali painting worth £60m and put the funds towards Glasgow’s equal pay bill. 

GMB general secretary Gary Smith has said council chiefs should sell the Christ of Saint John of the Cross painting, found in Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and put the money towards any outstanding equal pay liability.

In 2019, the council agreed a settlement of more than £500m with nearly 16,000 current and former employees.

However, the GMB union says the council are ‘stalling’ on the settlement process and has urged chiefs to ‘flog the Dali’ in order to meet the bill.

The Salvador Dali artwork was painted in 1951, before being purchased by the City of Glasgow in 1952 and is worth an estimated £60m.

Gary Smith, GMB general secretary, said: “The council’s residual equal pay liability is getting bigger by the day and the final bill will probably run into the hundreds of millions yet again.

“That’s why the council’s officials are stalling again on the settlement process, and with no end in sight yet on the removal and replacement of the discriminatory pay and grading system, it’s why 14,000 workers are balloting for strike action. 

“Time and again we’ve urged the council leadership to pick up the phone to government and ask for help to ease the pressure on the city’s finances and to help resolve the equal pay crisis in Scotland’s biggest city, but it’s fallen on deaf ears.

“If the council really thinks it can fix this alone then it had better start making plans to flog the Dali, because there is no way it’s discrimination is going to be paid for off the back of hard-pressed workers in a cost-of-living crisis.”

Glasgow City Council say that they will only “know the cost of settling claims once we have a deal.”

A council spokesperson said: “We’re negotiating with trade unions and others representing claimants. We will only know the cost of settling claims once we have a deal – and that will determine any financial strategy.”