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Sicilian monuments close on Sundays due to funding shortfall

Region to rethink workforce

03 January, 15:30
Sicilian monuments close on Sundays due to funding shortfall (ANSA) - Palermo, January 3 - Museums and archaeological sites on the southern island of Sicily will be closed to visitors on Sundays at least until the end of March due to a funding shortfall, local daily La Sicilia reported Friday. Some attractions such as the archaeological areas of Segesta and Selinunte and the modern art museum in Palermo may not open their doors on Sundays until much later in the year according to the same source, citing a notice issued by the regional cultural heritage department in late December. The closures are reportedly made necessary by the lack of funds to cover the public holiday allowance of custodians who work those days. However, they could be reviewed in light of the outcome of negotiations with managers and union representatives, cultural officials said.

The Sicily Region currently spends 67 million euros a year on salaries for cultural heritage staff, amounting to 1,700 people across the island, the newspaper reports. Overtime pay alone comes in at 3.3 million euros. Cultural heritage sites on Sicily came under the spotlight after it emerged that in some cases staffing costs far exceeded revenue from admissions. The problems are widely believed to be exacerbated by poor distribution of human resources, with some sites overstaffed and others with insufficient numbers to keep them open. The Sicilian regional authorities have announced plans to 'rationalise' the workforce in the sector.