Te Manawa jobs face axe ahead of $58m re­de­vel­op­ment

Manawatu Standard - - News - RICHARD MAYS

An ‘‘out of the blue’’ re­struc­tur­ing pro­posal for Palmer­ston North’s Te Manawau mu­seum could see up to four staff made re­dun­dant, sav­ing $100,000 a year.

Mu­seum chief Andy Lowe said the pro­posal would hit one team of five, po­ten­tially af­fect­ing four peo­ple, with one to be moved else­where.

The team fac­ing the axe builds, dec­o­rates and main­tains in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal ex­hibits.

He said the pro­posal would al­low Te Manawa to ‘‘free up and cre­ate re­sources’’ for devel­op­ing new ex­hi­bi­tions. ‘‘This is a pro­posal only at this stage and may change upon con­sul­ta­tion.’’

Kevin Bunker, an or­gan­iser for the Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion union rep­re­sent­ing the Te Manawa staff af­fected, said they were the peo­ple who put ex­hi­bi­tions to­gether and pro­vided phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture.

‘‘The pro­posal is that in fu­ture these ser­vices would be con­tracted out.’’

He said the un­ex­pected pro­posal had taken ev­ery­one by sur­prise, and those those af­fected were shocked, stunned and up­set.

‘‘The peo­ple af­fected don’t think much of the pro­posal. In terms of the skills they have, and the num­bers of years’ ex­pe­ri­ence – you can’t get that sort of ex­per­tise off the shelf. For the or­gan­i­sa­tion to lose that ex­per­tise ... I per­son­ally can’t see the sense.’’

Te Manawa had a full­time workforce of 32.

Bunker said the pro­posal ex­pected to make an­nual sav­ings of $100,000 – the equiv­a­lent of two av­er­age salaries – though he said the tran­si­tional costs would be quite high, and re­coup­ing those costs could take some time.

Lowe said while there was a po­ten­tial for sav­ings, that was not the rea­son be­hind the pro­posal.

Stu­art Schwartz, a for­mer di­rec­tor of Te Manawa when it was known as The Science Cen­tre and Manawatu¯ Mu­seum, said the re­dun­dan­cies didn’t make sense, es­pe­cially as among them were na­tion­ally recog­nised, longserv­ing and loyal staff mem­bers, and the mu­seum was em­bark­ing on a $58 mil­lion re­build­ing pro­gramme.

The out­come of the em­ploy­ment con­sul­ta­tion process was ex­pected on Mon­day.

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