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Birmingham museums ready to sack half of staff

The Workers Party of Britain (Birmingham branch) will support any industrial or campaigning action that museum staff threatened by redundancy may choose to take.

The Mail reported on 24 July that the Birmingham Museums Trust is due to lay off half of its staff owing to “funding shortages”. The government has an anticipated £1.57bn support package for the arts sector, but that is unlikely to save jobs.

Niels de Vos, chairman of the trust, said: “Only when visitor numbers and spend return to pre-coronavirus levels will our business model break even again.”

The Birmingham Museums Trust runs nine museums throughout the city, including the expensive ‘Think Tank’. This science-themed museum is priced out of the reach of all working-class people in Birmingham, with adult ticket’s costing £14 and childrens’ £10.25.

This rip-off replaced the previous council-run Science museum when the latter, based in the Jewellery Quarter, was forced to close.

Our city, with a proud industrial and entrepreneurial heritage, has many thousands of priceless exhibits, donated over the centuries to the people of the city. These exhibits, these gifts, are sat in storage, unable to be sold (thankfully) though the council is unwilling to house them in a properly-run museum.

The Labour council will say that it is all the fault of the Tories, but the truth is that the Labour council is wasteful – as is evidenced by the £6m that was squandered during the 2017 Birmingham bin strike.

Like many others, Birmingham council has built up huge cash reserves in the last ten years whilst drastically reducing spending on services. Last year the Times reported that Birmingham city council had increased its cash reserves by £411m in eight years.