Union to protest against job cuts at Glasgow museums

Unison claims Glasgow Life intends to cut 37 posts in the city’s museums and collections department to save £1.5m.

Union to protest against job cuts at Glasgow modern art gallery and Burrell Collection museums STV News

A union has arranged demonstrations outside two Glasgow museums over two weeks to protest against job cuts.

Unison claims Glasgow Life intends to cut 37 posts in the city’s museums and collections department to save £1.5m.

Glasgow Life has responded saying more than half of the posts are already vacant and it is working with the union where filled posts are affected.

Unison said behind-the-scenes roles such as curators, conservators, technicians, outreach and learning assistants, collections staff and positions involving photography, editorial and design are all under threat.

It argues the loss of these specialist staff will result in a diminished public experience, empty exhibitions spaces and “stagnant” galleries.

Glasgow Life said in turn the planned savings will ensure no existing services, programmes or events will be lost entirely.

A Unison branch spokesperson said: “Unison demands Glasgow councillors stand up for our museums, not pass on the funding attacks from the Scottish and UK Governments.

“We call on Glasgow City councillors to reverse these devastating cuts to our museums and collections.

“Our museums and collections are world renowned and internationally lauded. They need to be protected and cherished.”

The protests are planned to be held at the Burrell Collection, Pollock Park on Saturday July 29 and at the Gallery of Modern Art on Queen Street on Saturday August 5. Both protests will start at noon.

A Glasgow Life spokesperson said: “Glasgow’s museums and collections receive careful and considered care and this is going to continue.

“The savings Glasgow Life is making this year add up to around 9% of the annual service fee the charity receives from Glasgow City Council and ensure we will not have to close any venues.

“More than half of the Glasgow Life Museums posts affected by these savings measures are currently vacant. We are currently working closely with staff and unions to work through what this will mean for individual members of staff.

“Wherever possible, we have identified ways of making savings by reducing, rather than losing, Glasgow Life services, programmes and events, retaining the potential to rebuild them in the future.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has increased the resources available to local government in 2023-24 by more than £793m, a real-terms increase of £376m or 3%, compared with the 2022-23 budget figures.

“In 2023-24, Glasgow City Council will receive over £1.5bn to fund local services, which equates to an extra £62.6m to support vital day-to-day services or an additional 4.2% compared to 2022-23.

“The annual local government finance settlement is distributed using the needs-based formula, which is discussed and agreed each year with Cosla. The formula uses the most up-to-date information for the full range of indicators, including factors such as deprivation.”

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