Conservation and heritage charity National Trust is going to axe nearly 1,300 jobs as part of its plan to save £100m ($129m) in annual costs following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The group warned back in July this year that it was mulling over making 1,200 people redundant due to lockdown measures and safety rules in the UK impacting the number of people being able to visit its sites.
National Trust, which has 5.6 million members, will make 514 compulsory redundancies following a consultation and a further 782 people have already taken voluntary redundancy.
It will also make £41m in annual costs from cost-cutting plans, such as reducing travel and office costs, slashing marketing and print spend, and will instead focus on digital communications.
National Trust’s director general Hilary McGrady paid tribute to staff, volunteers, and members saying: “It’s with deep sadness that we have to make redundancies.”
“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,” McGrady added.
“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.”
The coronavirus pandemic has smashed the jobs market across the globe with UK employers slashing 695,000 jobs since March when the coronavirus first sent Britain into national lockdown.
Britain’s official unemployment rate also increased, as expected by analysts, to 4.1% between May and July, from 3.9% a month earlier, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The claimant count, which includes unemployed and low-paid workers receiving work-related benefits, stood at 2.7 million last month, up 120.8% since March.
New estimates also show the total number of jobs in Britain has fallen by 354,000 to 35.4 million between March and June, the steepest fall in almost three decades.
The government has come under enormous pressure to do more to stave off job losses as the crisis drags on and the furlough scheme is wound down.
It promised £238m of new support for jobseekers this month. Support will include advice on growing sectors, CVs and interviews, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It will also be targeted at anyone out of work for more than three months.
Earlier this week, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak said efforts to save jobs were the best way to return the public finances to sustainable levels.
The finance minister said: “The priority right now is jobs. My overwhelming focus at the moment is trying to protect and support as many jobs as possible.”