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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Jobs could go at Eden
Eden Project
The Eden Project only attracted 350,000 visitors during the winter
Jobs at a world-famous tourist attraction in Cornwall are likely to be cut because of a drop in visitor numbers.

Winter figures at the Eden Project near St Austell are down by 150,000.

Staff working patterns and pay are being reviewed, but managers at the venue are warning jobs could go.

They say they hope any jobs lost will be through natural wastage and not redundancies.

The site's operations director, Mark Jones, said they had no choice but to make changes.

We are no different to any other business and job losses are dependent on visitor numbers
Mark Jones, Eden project operations director

About 500,000 visitors were expected to visit Eden during the winter, but only 350,000 turned up.

He said a number of people had already come to Eden once and had not come back.

"We received enormous support in the first two years, and people probably thought a third year was a time to skip it.

"We are no different to any other business and job losses are dependent on visitor numbers.

"But with the changes that have happened to Eden over the last 12 to 18 months, there will be a brand new chapter to tell at Eden very shortly."

Third biome

One of those changes is a third giant greenhouse - a dry tropics biome - which is planned to open in 2005.

Mr Jones said: "We are still looking at more than 1.5 million visitors this year, even if the current soft start continues.

"We will still be the third or fourth most visited paid-for attraction in the UK and will have attracted well over double the original visitor estimate over five years."

Under changes to work arrangements, staff will work less in the winter and more in the summer.

Steady income

Overtime payments will stop, but staff will be paid for a 40-hour week, even if they work less than that.

Biome steward Mike Ford welcomed the changes.

"This new system they are working out is much easier for people with financial commitments.

"Knowing you have a steady income gives you peace of mind, and as a result, you can enjoy your job much more."




SEE ALSO:
Support for Eden greenhouse
12 Jun 03  |  Cornwall
Garden looks to Eden
18 Mar 03  |  Wales
Eden blossoms
02 Mar 03  |  Photo Gallery
Eden plans new greenhouse
02 Mar 03  |  England


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