National Museum Wales: 35 jobs go, another 160 affected

  • 21 January 2013
  • From the section Wales
Media captionThe National History Museum, St Fagan's, Cardiff, is one of those potentially affected

About 35 permanent jobs are to go as part of restructuring at the National Museum Wales (NMW).

A further 160 posts will be affected among the 650 museum staff.

The museum says the current financial climate posed unprecedented challenges for every public sector organisation in Wales and the museum was no exception.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said the announcement will cause anxiety among staff and among all those who use the museum's services.

The museum has faced a reduced budget and must find £2.5m in savings over three years.

It said it hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies by offering redeployment and schemes such as voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

It said the proposed changes would not affect the day-to-day operations of the seven national museums across Wales, and the consultation process would include staff, key partners and trade unions.

The proposals will have an impact on most areas of the museum although the main changes will be to the collections and research and learning, exhibitions and new media divisions.

Last year, NMW claimed its best visitor figures since it introduced free entry in 2001, with a total of 1.69m visits in 2011-12.

The museums affected are: National Museum of Wales in Cathays Park, Cardiff; National History Museum, St Fagan's, Cardiff; Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenavon, Torfaen; National Wool Museum, near Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire; National Roman Legion Museum at Caerleon, Newport; National Slate Museum at Llanberis, Gwynedd; and National Waterfront Museum Swansea.

The PCS said it was "upset and disappointed at the news, and concerned about the loss of expertise and the effect on Wales".

Neil Harrison, PCS branch secretary at the National Museum, said Monday's announcement will cause "anxiety" among staff and those who use the museum's services.

"While we acknowledge that management are seeking to avoid compulsory redundancies, no absolute commitment has been given.

"In addition, the loss of 35 permanent posts represents a significant loss in terms of the commitment and expertise of the staff involved and will prove challenging if the museum is to maintain current service levels."

He added that PCS and sister unions will "engage fully in the consultation" to protect jobs and conditions of service.

"The fact that the museum has been driven to undertake such significant and unsettling changes, at a time when its success has been demonstrated by rising visitor numbers, demonstrates the irrationality of the UK government's cuts programme."

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