Eighty staff likely to go at Royal Horticultural Society

Unite urges charity to reconsider plans that include cuts to extra pay for weekend and bank holiday work

The Royal Horticultural Society plans to make 80 of its 720 staff redundant in a restructure aimed at saving £1.7m.

The charity has predicted a shortfall of more than £1m for its next financial year, which begins in February 2010.

Under the proposals, staff would lose their entitlement to extra pay for working at weekends or on bank holidays. The RHS said the redundancies would affect staff across all departments, but declined to reveal precise details of where the cuts would be made.

Trade union Unite, which represents some workers at the RHS, is lobbying the charity to reconsider its proposals.

Chris Kaufman, Unite's national officer for food and agriculture, said: "Our members strongly suspect the RHS is attempting to railroad these changes through without providing them with adequate information, with little consultation and before anyone has had a chance to offer an alternative proposal."

He said Unite had written to Inga Grimsey, director general of the RHS, to ask for a meeting to discuss the restructure plan.

A spokeswoman for the RHS said it did not recognise the union because it did not represent a significant number of the charity's staff. Grimsey would respond this week to Unite's request for a meeting, she added.

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