Australian Museum staff asked to take voluntary redundancies - Public Service Association

Australian Museum staff asked to take voluntary redundancies

Staff at the Australian Museum have been asked to accept voluntary redundancies as the country’s oldest museum struggles to meet the state government’s cap on salary costs.

Employees were left shell-shocked in a meeting on Wednesday after management told them they would be seeking voluntary redundancies to combat the institution’s budget blowout, according to Public Service Association representatives, who were present.

It is unclear how many redundancies would need to be taken to appease the bottom line. The news was first reported by Central Sydney.

A spokesman for the museum said the organisation’s expenditure on salaries had exceeded the Labour Cap set by state treasury.

“As such, the AM is currently in the process of offering voluntary redundancies to staff, as part of ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the organisation. There are no confirmed job losses at this early stage,” the spokesman said.

“The process has just started, and at this stage we’ve just asked for expressions of interest [for voluntary redundancies].

Anne Gardiner, the general secretary of the PSA, said cutting staff at the southern hemisphere’s oldest natural history museum was the latest fallout from an “attack on science” in NSW.

“People who work at the museum, it’s their life. It’s not just a job, it’s a vocation,” Ms Gardiner said.

“At a time when we’re talking at a federal level about how to support innovation, you’re getting rid of people with priceless science and technical knowledge.

“It amounts to an attempt to dumb us down.

“We’re hoping something else can be done to address the budget shortfall other than devastating the technical expertise at the museum.”

In September the Australian Museum’s chief executive Kim McKay announced that she had wiped out the organisation’s $745,000 deficit recorded in 2013-2014.

The return to a small surplus came as the final touches were made to the Museum’s $5.9 million makeover of its William Street entrance.

Expressions of interests for voluntary redundancies close on October 20.

A meeting between staff, the PSA and management is due to take place October 19.

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