GMB Oppose Cuts in Museums Sheffield

4 Feb 2013

GMB members, employed by Museums Sheffield, face redundancy and cuts in working hours as the organisation looks to save money as a result of cuts in it’s funding. They are calling on the public in Sheffield to join them in opposing these cuts. Museums Sheffield runs the Millennium Gallery, Graves Art Gallery and Weston Park Museum. It faces a minimum cut of 10% or £200,000 in funding from Sheffield City Council.

When Museums Sheffield failed in its bid to gain Renaissance Major Grant funding from the Arts Council that decision saw hundreds of people take to the city’s cultural venues in 2012 to show their support after Museums Sheffield encouraged them to do so on social networking sites and blogs. The current proposals impact on front line staff only. This time there has been no call to arms on the organisation’s websites or in the media.

Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “ Under the proposal, front line changes are planned that will see a shift in focus from well-staffed, interactive and safe exhibition spaces to more retail trade to make money to bridge the gap in funding. The effect of this latest cut will see the existing front of house team split into two separate teams - one a dedicated retail team devoted to up selling and increasing revenue to cover the shortfalls in funding. The second team will be a reduced version of the existing Visitor Services team but will be substantially smaller. The proposal will affect the lowest paid members of Museums Sheffield team. 

GMB members worry that whilst the changes will indeed save money in the short term, over a longer period a less well staffed and secure environment will lead to falling visitor numbers. Also as staff invigilation falls the GMB believes Museums Sheffield may have to renegotiate its partnerships and exhibit loans from other arts organisations. GMB do not believe that this further threat to the city’s museums and galleries is the future envisioned by the hundreds of ordinary people who sat in Museums Sheffield venues supporting the importance of Sheffield’s culture during its failed arts council funding bids last year.

GMB members will be voicing their concerns about how this new cut will lead to the dilution of the visitor service team in the forthcoming individual consultations. GMB ask the same people who supported the city’s cultural venues in 2012 to make their views known to Museums Sheffield and Sheffield City Council.”