125 jobs under threat at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, including Wakehurst Place

Wakehurst Visitor Centre. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140218-182356001
Wakehurst Visitor Centre. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140218-182356001

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has confirmed that up to 125 roles could be lost due to a shortfall in funding of around £5million.

Jobs will be lost from both its London gardens as well as at the Wakehurst Place estate, Haywards Heath - although the balance of potential redundancies remains unknown at this time.

Kew employs 40 staff full time at Wakehurst Place.

A spokesperson for RGB Kew said: “We will be working with staff to explore all options including schemes for voluntary exits, reduced working hours and unpaid leave, before moving onto consideration of redeployment, voluntary redundancies or, as a last resort, compulsory redundancies.

“The scale of potential cuts equates to approximately 125 roles, there are currently approximately 750 staff working across RBG Kew.

“We are working through detailed plans internally and will share more once this process is completed.”

Meanwhile a campaign has been launched to reverse Government cuts which the GMB union says are forcing the redundancies. The petition can be found at this link.

The Kew spokesperson added: “‘The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, like many organisations, is facing significant financial challenges as a result of the economic situation of the last few years.

“In 2014/15, RBG Kew faces a shortfall of c. £5 million.

“RBG Kew has a global role to help people use plant diversity to solve the greatest challenges of our time from food security to clean water for a growing world population, and arguably the world needs Kew now more than at any point in its history.

“RBG Kew leadership are working fast to place the organisation on a strong footing to deliver this important role. The new Executive Board is leading the development of new strategies in key areas including science and the public offer, as well as strategies for growth of commercially-generated income over the coming years.

“RBG Kew is driving hard to grow self-generated income, and we aim to fill roughly a third of the shortfall next financial year through income growth. RBG Kew is also working to make the organisation more efficient. Costs will be reduced and these will include changes in staffing.”

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