V&A drops redundancy plans

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The Victoria and Albert Museum has put on hold plans for redundancies thanks to the extension of the government’s furlough scheme to September 2021.

Two weeks ago the museum launched a staff consultation on savings to compensate for losses during the lockdown, but today director Tristram Hunt (pictured) said that jobs in the National Art Library services and the theatre and performance department were no longer at immediate risk.

“Since the consultation launched the government has subsequently announced the extension of the furlough scheme” he said. “Thanks to this additional support, we have brought an improved proposal to staff and TU colleagues – to keep all 30 National Art Library and theatre & performance archive staff on board, utilising the furlough scheme while the review is taking place.

“New proposals for the structure of the NAL and combined archive team will follow once the review has concluded.”

The review of library service is to be streamlined, meaning a closure of six months instead of a year, with staff able to participate in the rereview and a new plan is to be announced before the end of the year.

However he said the museum still has to save £10m a year and a collective consultation with curatorial departments “so necessary to safeguard our future as the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance” would proceed.

“2020 has been devastating for the whole cultural sector, and at a time when our doors remain closed and recovery appears far from reach, the swell of public backing for national collections and cultural spaces like the National Art Library speaks volumes” Hunt said.

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