News

Unions call for meaningful government support for museums, as V&A announce revised restructure plans

1 April 2021

Prospect, the FDA, and PCS, as unions representing staff at the V&A museum, have welcomed the museum’s announcement that they are rethinking their curatorial restructure plans, but have called on the government to provide immediate additional funding.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The unions have called for ministers to provide meaningful support to the culture sector to deal with the impact of the pandemic, and to preserves access to, and the world-leading expertise of, our cultural institutions.

Garry Graham, Prospect deputy general secretary, said:

“It is welcome that the V&A has agreed to change tack on the restructuring and extended the consultation. This will enable our members to provide their considerable expertise and hopefully ensure a solution which will preserve the V&As reputation as the foremost design museum in the world.

“In the absence of meaningful government support for museums to cope with the impact of the pandemic on footfall and commercial revenue, we understand that the V&A is facing a challenging situation. It is imperative that government steps up to support our world-leading heritage sector through this period in a way which preserves access and retains the wealth of institutional knowledge it has in its workforce.

“Prospect and our sister unions will continue to work to achieve the best possible result both for our members worried about their jobs and for the museum.”

Helen Kenny, FDA National Officer, said:

“The FDA is pleased that the V&A has taken our views on board and rethought their original very radical proposals.

“However, we remain very concerned and disappointed that the reorganisation, which will see a number of roles axed and the loss of many highly experienced professionals, is being forced through because of a lack of government funding.

“Ministers have left the museum in an impossible position, and they must now look to find sufficient additional funding to protect the V&A’s collection and world-leading expertise, and, more generally, to safeguard the future of our vital cultural institutions.”

Steven Warwick, PCS Industrial Officer, said:

“PCS welcome this significant change to the V&A’s proposals after feedback from staff and unions. However the reality is this new proposal still means significant redundancies that PCS will continue to oppose.

“The loss of so many world leading curators from our public institutions will damage these organisations for years to come. The government must act now to save the culture sector.”