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Demonstrations to take place at Glasgow museums against staff cuts as union demands government help.

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

David Dixon / CC BY-SA 2.0

Two protests are taking place outside well-known cultural hubs in Glasgow as the fear of job cuts in the city's culture sector loom.

The first took place on Saturday (July 29) at the Burrell Collection, Pollok Park, while the second is scheduled for next Saturday (August 5) at the Gallery of Modern Art.

They follow claims the charity that operates the city's council-owned cultural venues, Glasgow Life, plans to cut 37 jobs within the city's museums and collections department, saving approximately £1.5m.


Behind the scenes roles are to be impacted by the cuts, with curators, conservators, technicians, outreach and learning assistants, collections staff and staff from photography, editorial and design all said to be in the firing line. 

The jobs cull affects staff across Glasgow Museums and the City Archives and Special Collections staff at the Mitchell Library.

A Unison branch spokesperson said: "Unison demands Glasgow councillors stand up for our museums, not pass on the funding attacks from the Scottish and UK Governments. 

"We call on Glasgow City Councillors to reverse these devastating cuts to our museums and collections.

"Our museums and collections are world-renowned and internationally lauded. They need to be protected and cherished."

Cost-saving measures

Glasgow Life has said the savings will help "ensure" venues will not have to close.

"Glasgow's museums and collections receive careful and considered care, and this is going to continue," the spokesperson added.

"The savings Glasgow Life is making this year add up to around 9% of the annual service fee the charity receives from Glasgow City Council and ensure we will not have to close any venues."

The charity has also stated over 50% of roles that face the axe are currently vacant.

The spokesperson continued: "More than half of the Glasgow Life Museums posts affected by these savings measures are currently vacant. We are currently working closely with staff and unions to work through what this will mean for individual members of staff. 

"Wherever possible, we have identified ways of making savings by reducing, rather than losing, Glasgow Life services, programmes and events, retaining the potential to rebuild them in the future."

The threat of redundancies has been on the cards since 2021, when 500 jobs were announced to be on the chopping block.

At the time, Glasgow Life said: "This cost-saving strategy is a vital part of the process of recovery Glasgow Life has been forced to undertake by the global pandemic.

"Glasgow Life will be a very different organisation at the end of this period."

Meanwhile, unions Unison, GMB and UNITE Glasgow Trade Unions have started an online petition calling upon the Scottish Government to realise that cultural and sports venues and facilities run by Glasgow City Council are important nationally and internationally.