A union has called on the public to help save the jobs of 125 plant experts.
The GMB union is looking for residents to back a campaign aiming to save the jobs under threat at Wakehurst Place and Kew Gardens in London where up to one in six roles are under threat.
Kew bosses have announced that the posts, which will be lost in the areas of science and public engagement, are to be cut due to a £5m deficit in this year’s budget.
Unions say the job losses are due to cuts in Government aid which has been reduced by £3.5 million since 2009 and is set to drop £1.5 million further by 2016.
A national campaign, backed by Sir David Attenborough, has been launched with a petition and an early day motion in Parliament.
Paul Grafton GMB Regional Officer said: “Never before has Kew faced such a significant threat to its future.
“It now needs public support to ensure its globally-important plant and fungal collections can continue to be used to support plant and fungal science and conservation around the world.
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“The majority of posts to be cut are for people in specialist careers measured in decades of experience so Kew will lose dedicated, expert staff, and whole areas of work are likely to be halted.”
A Royal Botanic Gardens Kew spokeswoman said: “RBG Kew leadership are working fast to place the organisation on a strong footing to deliver this important role.
“We will be working with staff to explore all options including schemes for voluntary exits, reduced working hours and unpaid leave, before moving onto consideration of redeployment, voluntary redundancies or, as a last resort, compulsory redundancies.
“The scale of potential cuts equates to approximately 125 roles, there are currently approximately 750 staff working across RBG Kew.”
To sign the petition tinyurl.com/ozz96gy.