PROTESTS are set to be stage by trade unions over “savaging” job cuts at Glasgow’s museums that could see displays and exhibitions “vastly reduced”.

Around a third of jobs are set to be cut from the city’s museums and collections department, run by Glasgow Life, with 37 posts from a total of 128 to be lost this year to save £1.5 million.

Unison says the cuts risk a shifting “a dynamic museum service towards spaces of elite privilege”. 

The jobs cull is set to affect behind-the-scenes staff across Glasgow Museums and the City Archives and special collections staff at the Mitchell Library, with roles such as curators, conservators, technicians, outreach and learning assistants, collections staff and staff from photography, editorial and design all facing the chop, according to Glasgow’s Unison branch.

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It says the museum conservation department is being reduced by 40% while curatorial staff and collections management are facing heavy cuts.

A Unison branch spokesperson said: “Savaging cuts will result in a loss of skills, knowledge, creativity and essential care of Glasgow’s world-renowned museum collections while public programmes, displays, exhibitions and online content will be vastly reduced as a result. 

“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.”

The branch added that losing specialist staff who prepare objects and loans, manage and move the collections and design and build displays and temporary exhibitions will result in a diminished public experience, empty exhibition spaces and stagnant galleries.

Meanwhile, it said cuts to Glasgow Life’s Open Museum and learning and access provision will see a reduction in services to marginalised communities in Glasgow, with successful initiatives such as dementia and autism friendly programmes “much less likely to happen in the future”.

Protests will be staged outside the Burrell Collection in Pollok Park on Saturday, July 29, at 12pm, and at the Gallery of Modern Art in Queen Street on Saturday, August 5, at 12pm.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “Glasgow’s museums and collections receive careful and considered care and this is going to continue.

"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.

"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.”