1,200 National Trust staff face job loss

The National Trust today told staff their jobs may have to go as part of a £100m savings package.

Several properties, such as Upton Park in Warwickshire (pictured) were closed this afternoon so that workers could be told at special meetings. About 1,200 are thought to be at risk.

It would mean a loss of a third of the trust’s staff and a saving of around £8.8m. It is expected that its properties will lose around £200m this year because of the pandemic.

“We are going through one of the biggest crises in living memory” said director general Hilary McGrady. “All aspects of our home, work and school lives, and our finances and communities have been affected, and like so many other organisations the National Trust has been hit very hard.”

Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, said the National Trust were contemplating a big programme of layoffs. “As the union for National Trust workers Prospect’s first priorities will be minimising the total number of redundancies, maximising voluntary redundancy and getting as good a deal as possible for everyone who loses their job” he said.  “We are committed to ensuring our members are treated fairly in this process. 

“At the moment there are no plans for National Trust to close whole properties but they are shutting ‘unprofitable’ shops and cafes and the worry is that it’s only a matter of time” he went on.  “Once jobs are lost and assets are closed it is very hard to recover them. Access to our cultural heritage should be an essential part of society’s recovery from the pandemic, and the government should be doing everything it can to protect it.”

The National Trust was founded by Octavia Hill in 1895 "promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the Nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest". It owns over 610,000 acres of land, 780 miles of coast and over 500 historic houses, castles, archaeological and industrial monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves, making it one of the largest landowners in the UK. The trust normally has an annual income of £630m, more than a third of which comes from membership subscriptions.

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