National Trust plans to give St Michael's Mount staff to estate owner
The National Trust is consulting with staff at St Michael's Mount over plans to move them to the payroll of St Aubyn Estates.
Four workers in the shop and Sail Loft Restaurant could see their employer change.
Despite the possible staff shake-up, both sides are adamant the consultation is not a sign that the trust is pulling out of the island.
"We are undertaking a review of our working relationship together, that is all," said Nick Lawrence, assistant director of operations for the National Trust in the South West.
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"There will be no parting of the ways and the trust will continue to be involved in St Michael's Mount.
"The consultation is around the fact that there are four regular National Trust employees over there and under the proposal, if it goes ahead, they will be employed by the St Aubyn family estate. The estate runs the whole place anyway."
In 1954 the National Trust was given much of the landmark by Francis St Aubyn, the third Lord St Levan, together with a large endowment fund for its upkeep. The family still live on the island with the trust carrying out the preservation of the picturesque location.
"The agreement when Lord St Levan gave the property to the trust was that the family run it on a day-to-day basis," said Mr Lawrence. "In more recent times the trust has operated the shop and catering."
But he added that discussions were under way to streamline staffing with all employees reporting to the same person.
"Four people not doing that makes it more complicated," he said. "The aim is joining everyone up."
The consultation, which began last week, is due to last until mid-December and Mr Lawrence said redundancies were not on the cards.
When asked if the consultation was a cost-cutting exercise, he replied: "Absolutely not."
"The aim is to make things more effective," he said.
"People will have different views and those affected may well do. That is what we are talking about now." Charlotte Somers, head of marketing for St Aubyn Estates, said the consultation was a private matter between staff, the trust and the Mount. She added: "There are not going to be any reductions of staff on St Michael's Mount – we have a permanent workforce of 20 which increases to 130-150 at the height of season, and this will continue to grow from strength to strength.
"Our partnership with the National Trust is as strong as ever and they will continue to ensure the preservation and conservation of the mount as they have always done."