Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (RPMT) is consulting on a significant restructure across its five museum sites as it deals with the impact of the pandemic.
The museum service, which was previously run by Brighton & Hove City Council but became a trust in October 2020, aims to simplify its workforce structure and cut outgoings while increasing income across its venues.
The restructure aims to provide £300,000 in savings as well as putting in place new income-raising teams.
In a statement, RPMT said staff have been informed of the proposals and a consultation process is underway.
The restructure will see a number of redundancies, as well as new posts created and other roles changed. The trust said the changes would affect 17% of staff, with the majority of those redeployed elsewhere in the organisation or carrying out the same role in a different department.
When RPMT was launched, many employees moved over from the council on the same contracts under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Tupe) regulations. The trust said: “Once staff have transferred under Tupe, employers can make changes following the normal consultation process.”
The trust said “all will be done to minimise” staff losses. It said the restructure comes after an “incredibly difficult 18 months for the culture sector due to Covid”, which has left it with a £1.4m budget shortfall this year.
CEO Hedley Swain said: “As an independent charity, it is important our service is excellent for everyone who visits and enjoys our buildings, collections and programmes. We are going through a time of organisational change which will mean some upheaval for a while. We will do everything we can to avoid compulsory redundancies. We know this will be a difficult time for some of our people but we will consult fully with all our workforce to ensure the restructure is transparent for everyone.
“We’re hoping to become a stronger organisation for the future. We remain completely committed to our collections and our curatorial expertise. Our five venues will benefit from a more unified vision as we all work together to create a stronger family of venues.”
“The need for a restructure is to create an organisational structure for a successful independent business and charity to succeed, to make sure we are a single unified team, to simplify and unify our structures and to make savings.”
The consultation will be completed in January 2022.
RPMT has refuted a tweet by the Sussex branch secretary of GMB Union claiming the trust is planning “to make staff compulsory redundant two days before Christmas but the senior management team [are] set to receive large bonus payments”. The statement was retweeted by local Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
A spokeswoman for the trust said: “No bonuses will be paid to senior staff or any staff this year or in the future as RPMT do not pay bonuses.”
She added: “Staff will not lose their jobs before Christmas and the terms and conditions of their employment will remain the same if they change roles.”