More jobs cut at the Tate

Arts sub-editor Maud Webster reports on the second wave of redundancies made at the arts organisation Tate.

Maud Webster
12th December 2020
Credit: Tate on Facebook

Arts organisation Tate, which manages four major UK galleries and hosts a collection of nearly 70,000 art pieces, have announced a second round of job cuts. This move is triggered by the immense impact of the pandemic, and will effect 120 gallery staff members as part of an attempt to save £4.8 million.

Tate previously made half its staff (313 roles) at Tate Enterprises Ltd, the commercial branch of the organisation, redundant in August. This decision ignited protests at the time, as unions stated the round of redundancies would disproportionately affect Black and ethnic minority staff; eventually 295 roles were lost and BAME members of staff were allegedly not disproportionately represented in these redundancies.

Director Maria Balshaw elaborates on the impact COVID-19 has had on the Tate's four galleries, situated in London, Liverpool and St Ives, which "have seen only 20% of previous visitor numbers when open."

"At the end of this financial year we expect to have welcomed only 1 million visitors instead of 8 million. For every £10 we were expecting to make this year, we are only receiving £4, and we expect to lose £56 million in self-generated income overall."

The impact statement on the Tate's website also details how the trust hope to lose most jobs from a voluntary redundancy scheme, which will be "open to colleagues in all departments and at all levels to express an interest in taking voluntary redundancy, early retirement, reduced working hours or a career break."

These moves to reduce workforce size by cultural organisations including the Tate and the National Gallery's commercial branch demonstrate the severe and long-term economic effects the pandemic has had on the arts sector in particular, as tourism is anticipated not to reach previous levels until 2024/45.

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AUTHOR: Maud Webster
(She / Her) Second-year Architecture & Planning student at Newcastle University, and arts sub-editor for the 20/21 academic year.

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