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 near Haywards Heath 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 being reduced by £3.5 million since 2009 and is set to drop £1.5 million further by 2016.
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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: “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: “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.”
There are currently 40 permanent employees at Wakehurst Place.
To sign the petition search for Kew at www.change.org.