Job losses look certain at Liverpool Museums

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The World Museum is one of eight venues were jobs are threatened / Credit: © JMU Journalism

Liverpool museums could see up to 100 full-time equivalent job cuts due to financial losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

That was the stark message from Director of National Museums Liverpool, Laura Pye, who confirmed a £5.9m drop in revenue forecasts for this time of year.

With the government furlough scheme due to end soon, and reduced tourism contributing to footfall being at just 17% from July to September, the drop in income has left the organisation with little choice but to seek redundancies.

“We have reached a point where the financial implications of closure, the reduction in revenue, along with a severe downturn in tourism extending from a global to a local level, cannot be ignored if we are to survive,” said Pye in a statement.

“The related drop in income, and the knock-on effects on our financial stability over the next few years, ultimately means we face some extremely difficult choices about the size, structure and viability of some of our teams.”

The job losses will affect staff at many levels across the organisation, which comprises eight venues including the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum and Walker Art Gallery.

A member of staff at The Walker Art Gallery, who asked to remain anoymous, said:

“The reduction of visitors since we reopened after lockdown has plummeted. Before we closed, we were getting around 400-500 visitors per day and since lockdown we’ve only been getting about 200-300 a day.”

Museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK have been gradually reopening since early July with strict social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The International Slavery Museum opened its doors to the public on 19 August. They have enforced one-way routes around the museum with hand sanitiser stations at key points. Cafes and shops are operating a contactless payment method and interactive touch points are closed. They have also limited visitor capacity within the building.

The Maritime Museum was Liverpool’s most visited attraction in 2017 / © JMU Journalism.

Lindsay Grafton, 54, has visited The Merseyside Maritime Museum on several occasions post-lockdown and said: “It’s weird seeing all the new restrictions in the museum, but if it’s going to mean the museum can still run then I’m all for them.

“I think they’ll put a lot of people’s minds at rest who are maybe worried about visiting. It’s reassuring to see that they’re making the place as safe as it can be.”

However, as National Museums Liverpool enters a period of consulation with staff it appears these measures will not be enough for some with a voluntary exit scheme offered before compulsory losses are instigated.

Said Pye: “We are grateful for the continued support of our visitors and supporters, all of whom are essential to our recovery.

“We are working with the unions to mitigate the impact but the number of redundancies could be up to 100 FTEs (full-time equivalents), which equates to approximately 20%.”






About Heidi Hewlings, JMU Journalism