Impact will be felt in communities across Glasgow
A major arms-length organisation (aleo) is to axe 500 jobs – with a huge impact on libraries, museums and sports centres in Glasgow.
Glasgow Life was established as a charity by the city council more than a decade ago to oversee the city’s cultural services.
The premise for setting up as a charitable trust – a move which is controversial with many in the charity sector – was that it would allow the aleo to generate commercial income outside direct council control.
However, it says that the Covid pandemic has had a devastating impact on its income, with £38 million being lost due to the closure of venues, and therefore the stopping of revenue streams.
Jobs and facilities will now go, with consequences for workers and communities.
Many facilities have been shut since last March and will not reopen before the end of this year.
In total, 80 of its 171 venues across the city remain shut.
Glasgow Life said the job cuts would be made "over time" and would not involve compulsory redundancies.
Instead, the aleo said it would target early retirement packages and voluntary redundancies.
The attractions run by Glasgow Life for the council include Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the People's Palace, Riverside Museum and the Mitchell Library.
A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: "This cost-saving strategy is a vital part of the process of recovery Glasgow Life has been forced to undertake by the global pandemic."
The city council has committed to a £100m recovery package over the next five years, but this will not be enough to make up the lost income.
"Glasgow Life will be a very different organisation at the end of this period," the spokesperson added.
"We are asking staff for flexibility during this process and are regularly updating them through internal communications and briefings from their managers and unions are also regularly updated."
The jobs blow comes as the UK government’s furlough scheme comes to an end. The aleo was able to furlough some staff – as they are paid from Glasgow Life’s own income and not through the council.