Royal Pavilion and museum staff to lift strike threat as council reviews handover to Brighton Festival

Posted On 14 Feb 2018 at 3:18 pm

Staff at the Royal Pavilion and Museums service are expected to lift their threat of a strike after a new proposal Brighton and Hove City Council.

The council is to put on hold its plans to transfer the service and staff to the Brighton Festival and instead carry out an independent review if the options.

The move was welcomed by the GMB union which was planning to ballot members on whether to strike over the changes.

The GMB said: “The decision by Brighton and Hove City Council is a result of the direct representation of the feedback, concerns and views of GMB union and its members.

“They have agreed to postpone the immediate threat of a direct transfer to the Dome and Festival Trust and the commissioning of an expert external review of all of the options available to them in regard to the future of the Royal Pavilion and Museums services.

“The scope of the review, which is to be completed by the end of September 2018, will include looking again in detail at the two-stage process to establish fully the costs and viability of that option, alongside other models including the service remaining as it is in house.

“The review will also take into account any or all risk factors specific to each of the options on the table.

“Once completed, the review will then go back again to the (council’s) Policy, Resource and Growth Committee for a final decision to be made on how best to protect the future of the Royal Pavilion and Museums services and staff.”

Mark Turner, GMB B50 Branch Secretary said: “I of course cautiously welcome the offer from Brighton and Hove City Council.

“I say cautiously because everyone thought we were all moving along in one direction before, and then suddenly the Labour group changed direction under the leadership of Warren Morgan without any hint of a warning signal.

“Conservatives at the council’s Policy, Resource and Growth Committee also moved to awarding a contract unilaterally to the Dome and Festival Trust to run the Royal Pavilion and Museums services.

“So my hope is that this time an open and fair process with meaningful consultation will stay in place from start to finish in all aspects of new review process.

“The next steps for us is that we will be meeting members and staff next Wednesday (21 February) at 9am to ask them if they agree with the council’s proposal.

“In the meantime, we will be standing down any threats of both a ballot and/or industrial action as a sign of good faith in light of the proposal to our members to consider.

“If they do then accept the proposal we will commence discussing what happens next around the review and their involvement in scoping the consultant brief, engagement process and timetable, and in ensuring that GMB members and staff will be seeing meaningful and significant input this time, into the whole process and final report.”

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    It is my view that there is a grave danger that the Royal Pavilion and our museums would be used to subsidise or underwrite falling Dome revenues.

    • Cactuscat Reply

      It is my view that, if the Pavilion were able to subsidise anything at all, it wouldn’t be necessary for the Council to get rid of it to save money.

  2. John Farmer Nash Reply

    The same could be true in reverse, Valerie, given the museum charges and the cost of entry to the Pavilion. There must be ways to set up the museums trust to prevent cross-subsidies in either direction. Also, there ought to be some savings to be made from having a common management team at the very least.
    And if a charitable trust can win grants and other income that isn’t open to the council, then surely jobs would become safer and more secure? With local councils’ finances going the way they are, this might be the best bet.
    It’s all well the unions being ideological but the council hasn’t been a good steward of the seafront terraces and it’s role in the demise of the West Pier bears scrutiny. In many ways, it operates with its hands tied. A trust would have greater flexibility and those running it wouldn’t have to choose between our heritage and vital frontline services like protecting vulnerable children.

  3. Daniel Harris Reply

    Well done to GMB and other Unions for leading on this issue. Its a disgrace. This administrations idea of fixing things is to sell off or hand over to third parties.

    Everything is privatised and now we spend 20m a year on temporary accommodation. By their own admission the new in-house temporary accommodation will save 200k a year compared to the expensive spot purchased private providers they currantly use. Thats for just 22 new places.

    There are 1950 Temporary Accommodation properties in B&H, so the council report anyway. Most of these are with companies and private landlords. Now assuming all these came back in house, we are looking at like 17m in potential savings per year.

    Yes it will require investment. But thats potentially £170m over 10 years. (based on spot purchased)

    The average self contained (if you can call it that) emergency accommodation room costs about £900 pcm. For that vulnerable people are given a microwave to eat from and are not allowed any visitors. Some are revenge evicted for complaining about the poor living conditions.

    We need change so we can protect the most vulnerable and our assets before Morgan Inc sells the lot off to the highest bidder.

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    This situation came about because cllr Robins took no interest in the matter – he left it all to Council officers – until the last minute, when it was ventilated by the staff who where understandably enraged at being ignored. That Committee needs a better Chair.

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