National Trust to axe 1,300 jobs as it battles to save £100m in annual costs

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The National Trust has announced it is slashing 1,300 jobs amid moves to save £100m of annual costs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisation, which warned in July that it might have to make people redundant to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, has said it is making 514 compulsory redundancies following consultation.

A further 782 people have taken voluntary redundancy, as part of cuts to jobs that will save around £59m a year.

The Trust is also saving around £41m in annual costs from areas such as reducing travel and office costs and cutting marketing and print spend in favour of digital communications.

The coronavirus crisis hit almost every aspect of income for the conservation and heritage charity, which has 5.6 million members, shutting all of its houses, gardens, car parks, shops and cafes, and stopping holidays and events.

The figures revealed today come on top of 162 people who were previously told they were being made redundant as £124m of projects were halted or deferred.

It brings the total job losses at the trust linked to the pandemic to 1,458.

It said that it had halved the number of compulsory redundancies it had planned to make following consultation.

Changes to the plans have seen jobs in everyday maintenance and curatorial roles retained, along with roles focused on helping children learn, the charity said.

The Trust said it had already saved millions of pounds through freezing recruitment, drawing on reserves, borrowing, stopping or deferring projects and reducing marketing, travel and office costs.

Director general Hilary McGrady thanked staff, volunteers and members who shared their views on the proposals, saying the consultation had enabled the Trust to adapt its plans while still making the savings it required.

She said: “This is a very painful time for so many organisations, businesses and communities. The Trust is only as strong as it is because of its people – our staff, volunteers and supporters.

“No leader wants to be forced into announcing any redundancies, but coronavirus means we simply have no other choice if we want to give the charity a sustainable future.

“We have exhausted every other avenue to find savings, but sadly we now have to come to terms with the fact that we will lose some colleagues.

“We will do all we can to support those who are leaving, and others affected by these significant changes.

“In making these changes now, I am confident we will be well-placed to face the challenges ahead, protecting the places that visitors love and nature needs, and ensuring our conservation work continues long into the future.”

The 514 compulsory redundancies include 62 hourly-paid staff, while the 782 voluntary redundancies include 146 hourly-paid staff.

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Ms McGrady said the National Trust would continue to open as many places as possible while the UK battled Covid-19 and Government restrictions remained in place.

“The places and things the National Trust cares for are needed now more than ever, and will continue to play an important role as our nations recuperate and recover their spirit and wellbeing,” she said.

“Our focus will remain on the benefit we deliver to people, every day. We must now focus on emerging from this crisis in a strong position.”

General secretary of the Prospect union Mike Clancy said it was a huge number of job losses, but work from reps and officials had meant the level of compulsory redundancies was lower than it might have been.

He said: “The long-term prospects for National Trust and access to its properties and lands are hugely important both to employees and to the cultural health of the nation.

“The current plan, while devastating for those who are losing jobs they love, is a reasonable way to move forward, minimising job losses while hopefully safeguarding the National Trust’s future.”


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