Royal Academy plans to make 150 staff redundant amid COVID-19

The Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) plans to consult employees on making 150 people redundant, equating to 40 percent of its workforce, due to a downturn caused by COVID-19.

The Guardian reports that the RA held a meeting on Thursday (September 17) for all staff members, who were told of a need to reduce annual costs by £8 million.

British museums, galleries and arts organisations have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, with politicians and unions warning of a “tsunami” of job losses in the arts.

“COVID-19 has placed the RA under severe financial pressure,” said the RA. “Although the RA reopened to the public as soon as possible following the easing of lockdown, social distancing reduces capacity and revenue by 75 percent, and we continue to incur substantial losses.”

The RA is “under critical financial pressure”

Axel Rüger, chief executive of the RA, said: “For over 250 years, the Royal Academy has championed artists and architects and inspired visitors.

“This pandemic has placed us under critical financial pressure,” he added.

“Our staff are incredibly dedicated and passionate about working at the RA; it is therefore with great regret that we confirm roles are at risk, but our focus must be on protecting the survival of the RA.”

The redundancy consultation would “affect all areas and levels of the organisation”. The RA has applied for a grant from the government’s £1.57 billion cultural recovery fund.

The RA needs to reduce annual costs by £8m

As well as the RA, Tate is planning 313 job losses across its commercial operation, while the Southbank Centre is planning 400 job losses.

The Tate’s job losses include 313 part-time and full-time roles at Tate Enterprises Ltd (TEL), which operates shops, cafes, restaurants and publishing services at the four sites in London, Liverpool and St. Ives.

Axel Rüger will be speaking at the blooloop V-Expo, running from October 13 to 15. Don’t miss out – register here today.