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Crisis deepens at Art Gallery of NSW as volunteers 'sacked'

Source: SMH

The Art Gallery of NSW has lurched further into crisis after the "sacking" of volunteers from front-desk positions.

The decision to replace the gallery's team of volunteers with casual ticket sellers follows the redundancies last month of three senior staff, and raises questions about the management of the institution.

The union representing gallery staff claims a climate of fear has descended upon the institution.

Wendy Whiteley suggested long-term staff associated with the previous gallery director Edmund Capon may have been targeted for removal.

"There seems to be some deliberate idea that they're kind of shaking out the rug," she said.

Whiteley added: "I really don't know. Perhaps they think loyalties get split."

Vere Kenny, a gallery volunteer for 10 years, said alienating the gallery's team of volunteers could also jeopardise the gallery's fundraising efforts.

"Discarding an unpaid workforce when dollars are being begged for extensions is not a good look," she said. "Nor is it a good idea to alienate a 200-odd body of people who may have influence and indeed some dollars they may now withhold."

She said the volunteers were told it was too difficult to train them for the new role.

"There is now some mention of customer surveys being part of the ticket selling," she said. "Great way to piss off your public."

The plan to replace the AGNSW volunteer task force of mainly elderly and retired men and women with casual ticket sellers was announced earlier this month. Click here to read more ...




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