Wales

National Museum Wales: 23 posts go, 111 jobs to change

  • 13 May 2013
  • From the section Wales

Twenty three posts will be lost and another 111 jobs changed under a major restructuring of National Museum Wales, it has been announced.

The museum said budget cuts meant it had to make £2.5m savings over three years.

The changes from June will not affect day-to-day operations and the museum hopes to avoid compulsory job losses.

In response, unions said they were worried about the museum's capacity to deliver projects in future.

Staff at the museum's seven sites were informed on Monday morning.

When the museum first announced a planned reorganisation in January it said 35 posts would be lost and 160 in total affected.

'Interpret and communicate'

But in Monday's statement it said since then productive discussions had taken place between staff, unions and senior management.

It added that a number of alternative approaches had been received, many of which had "informed and strengthened" the final structure.

The museum also said it was committed to reviewing how it could better "research, interpret and communicate" the national collection to the people of Wales and engage with its visitors while maintaining world-class expertise.

It said it would also continue to have a strong curatorial and conservation team made up of 120 staff, retaining high-level international expertise across all its departments.

The museum said it hoped it could avoid compulsory redundancies through redeployment into vacant posts and voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes.

David Anderson, the director general, said: "We realise that this has been a difficult time for everyone, and that it will remain challenging while the changes are implemented."

He said the review of all divisions would meet the deficit but also create a "better balance between the resources we commit to research and the resources put towards communicating that research with our visitors".

Mr Anderson added that even after the restructuring, the natural sciences department would still be the largest in the UK outside London.

A new head of research would also be appointed, he said, which would build on their research capacity and generate income.

Some museum staff, members of the Prospect Union, have already been balloted to see if they would consider striking over the changes.

Reacting to the announcement, Gareth Howells of Prospect said: "We're pleased that the museum has accepted our proposals and reduced the number of job losses.

"But I think we still have concerns about the capacity of the museum to deliver in future. For example, it has partnerships with other institutions, it supports other bodies in Wales.

"For example, it supports Cadw, it provides expertise to Natural Resources Wales. So we are concerned about the implications for that support."

Mr Howells agreed that visitors' experience would not be affected.

But he added: "Exhibitions don't appear by magic out of the air, there's a lot of background work and research that goes in.

"And we are worried that with the expertise that could be lost as a result of these cutbacks that we will not be able to see those exhibitions and they will not be able to be delivered."

The museum currently employs 650 staff at sites across Wales, including Cardiff, St Fagans, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea and the National Slate Museum in Llanberis.

Last year the museums together attracted over 1.75 million visitors.

The institution said it remained committed to delivering key projects, including the redevelopment of St Fagans: Natural History Museum and providing a National Museum of Natural Sciences.

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