Dozens of posts are set to go at National Museums Liverpool as it struggles with multi-million pound losses caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Up to 100 full time equivalent roles – equating to 20% of staff - could be lost in what museums bosses are calling a restructuring of the organisation to cope with a massive fall in income during 2020.
The organisation’s eight sites cost around £27m a year to run, and NML has lost almost £6m in generated income because of the ongoing fallout from lockdown restrictions.
Consultations with staff have begun and NML leaders say they hope the roles can be reduced by voluntary means. They say they will be offering affected people a voluntary exit scheme before having to look at making any compulsory redundancies.
NML director Laura Pye said: “We’ve championed art, history and science, and inspired visitors in Liverpool and Merseyside, for more than 160 years.
“At the beginning of this year, like so many other organisations in our sector, we could never have imagined we would be in this position; 2019 was a fantastic year for us, with more than three million people visiting our eight venues, and we were looking forward to building on this success with a busy year of exhibitions, events and activity.
“Then the pandemic hit, leading to the closure of our eight venues for more than three, and in some cases five months.
Above: Lady Lever Art Gallery.
Top: World Museum Liverpool. Photo by Gareth Jones
“As a charity, we rely heavily on ticket sales and commercial activities, and expect that our income will be £5.9m less than we had forecast for this year, before the pandemic. The financial implications of this vital income stream being cut without warning has impacted us greatly.”
Since the start of the pandemic, NML has cut back its costs by reducing operational budgets, restricting opening hours, postponing shows and digging into its financial reserves.
It has also taken advantage of the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and has received emergency funding from Government.
Laura Pye added: “With the furlough period coming to an end, we’re sadly in a position where our commercial and charitable revenue sources are still profoundly reduced.
“We’ve 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.”
“As Director I’m devastated that we find ourselves in this position. We’ll work closely with all our unions and affected colleagues to support them through this process and continue to be transparent during what is a very difficult time.”
NMLvenues remain open to the public. Visits should be booked in advance on the website HERE