National Trust to make more than 1,000 redundancies after consultation

09 Oct 2020 News

The National Trust will make 1,296 redundancies following the biggest redundancy consultation in its 125-year history.

After a 45-day process, the charity has said it is making 514 compulsory redundancies, which includes 62 hourly-paid staff.

It will also make 782 voluntary redundancies, including 146 from hourly-paid staff.

In July the charity warned of job losses and said budget cuts were inevitable after its income was hit drastically by the pandemic. 

It had initially proposed making 1,200 compulsory redundancies, saving almost £60m of its annual staff budget. 

In August, 162 members of staff were told they were being made redundant or their contracts were ending early. The Trust also introduced a recruitment freeze to reduce its staff costs, and made use of the furlough scheme.

‘This is a very painful time’

A number of changes have been made to the original proposals. These include retaining roles focused on helping children learn, keeping curation specialists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, increasing buildings maintenance roles, and introducing new specialist roles for land use, soils and carbon reduction.

There have also been changes in other areas covering marketing, retail, holidays, IT, legal and the let estate.

Hilary McGrady, director general, said: “It’s with deep sadness that we have to make redundancies. I certainly don’t want to stop any of the extraordinary work done by the people of the National Trust.

“But our consultation has done as intended. It provided proposals to reach our savings target, and sparked such thorough feedback and collective intelligence, that we’ve been able to adapt our plans while still making the savings we needed. It’s been a difficult process with some very hard choices. 

“I want to thank everyone who has been involved – especially those whose jobs have been affected and the members and volunteers who care so passionately about the Trust. They’ve really tested the ideas put forward, and helped shape our proposals so that we are in the best possible position to recover well.

“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.”

Other cost-saving measures

In addition to staff redundancies, the Trust will save about £41m in other areas. This includes reducing travel and office costs, reducing marketing and print spend in favour of digital, renegotiating contracts, reducing IT spend, and introducing more efficient processes to manage key areas of the charity.

The Trust has already announced it is stopping or deferring £124m of projects.  

In May the Trust begun to reopen following government guidance, and by the end of September it had had more than five million visitors.

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