On Wednesday 15 July Southbank Centre began their collective consultation for 365 redundancies out of a total workforce of 577 people. This is despite the government's culture bailout.
PCS is working together with Unite the Union colleagues in our response and is committed to exploring all options to reduce redundancies and secure as many jobs as possible.
Although some redundancies were not unexpected due to the closure of the venues in the coronavirus lockdown, we are appalled at the huge number of people at Southbank Centre who may lose their jobs at the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery. This, and other mass redundancies across the sector, makes a mockery of the government's recent announcement of £1.5billion investment in the culture sector and their much vaunted aims to save jobs.
As the largest arts centre in the UK, Southbank Centre is an important venue and open space for the local communities of Lambeth and Southwark as well as a major destination for tourists and visitors to London from across the world. It consistently polls as one of the top 5 visited tourist attractions in the UK. Over 40% of the artistic programme is free to attend and Southbank Centre supports a further 7,000 jobs in the arts in London. If Southbank Centre loses the majority of its hardworking and dedicated staff, all this is at risk.
Built on the site of the 1951 Festival of Britain, Southbank Centre is an important part of the cultural heritage of the UK and stands as a monument to the role of culture in the recovery after the devastation of WW2 during a period of austerity. It is the 'People's Palace' and it must now lead the recovery of our national culture after Covid-19.
We call on DCMS, Arts Council England and the Greater London Authority to provide emergency funding to secure the future of Southbank Centre and protect our members’ jobs.
Please sign the PCS Culture Group petition to support our members: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/emergency-funding-for-culture-now