Leeds Civic Hall (c) Leeds City Council

Staff cuts at Leeds Museums and Galleries

Nicola Sullivan , 10.04.2015
Restructure will see 23 jobs cut
A restructure of Leeds Museums and Galleries will result in reduced opening hours and job cuts.

A report from Leeds City Council confirmed that 23 equivalent full-time jobs will be lost as part of efforts to achieve savings of around £500,000. 

John Roles, the head of museums and galleries at Leeds City Council, said the cuts were the final phase of a £700,000 savings package taken from a £5.1m budget over four years up to the end of March 2015.

The council's report also said that 172 jobs would be protected in the new structure. Opening hours will be reduced at Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and Temple Newsam, which will be closed for three and a half months over the winter.

Roles said: “We are in the same boat as all local authorities. Government funding has reduced over the past five years. There’s large amounts of money to take out of the budget and we need to find ways to do that.”

Cost-cutting measures are also on the cards for the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. But affected staff managed to strike a deal with the gallery to avoid being put on less secure contracts. 

A statement from the union Unite said that attempts had been made to replace gallery assistants with apprentices on training rates. The gallery assistants would then be put on zero-hours contracts.

The gallery assistants were due to strike in March but the action was withdrawn after the gallery and the union agreed to a deal that meant their jobs were protected.

Peter Storey, a regional officer for Unite, said: “The gallery assistants proposed to keep the present staff in an improved structure, still reducing costs, but deleting zero-hours contracts and offering a better operational rota on permanent contracts.”