Brussels Art & History Museum: Staff denounce toxic work environment

Brussels Art & History Museum: Staff denounce toxic work environment
Credit: M0tty / Wikimedia Commons

Staff working at Brussels’ Cinquantenaire Musées Royaux d’Art et D’Histoire (Royal Museums of Art and History) have cosigned a letter to Secretary of State for science policy, Thomas Dermine, denouncing a toxic work climate overseen by the museum’s director, Michel Draguet, RTBF reports on Tuesday.

The staff of the museum are waiting for the outcome of an “illuminating report” on working conditions at the museums. Their letter was forwarded to the French-speaking broadcaster and warns of “psychosocial risks in technical services and exhibitions.”

“We are preaching in the wilderness, our leaders turn a deaf ear while we survive in a general malaise,” the complaint states. Numerous staff, who have elected to remain anonymous, report that there are many cases of burn-out and depression among their colleagues. Others complain about unequal treatment between employees, denouncing a lack of “equity and basic justice.”

“The staff are manipulated by promises that the management does not keep; the rules and ethics in the management of a scientific institution are flouted,” one member of staff complained.

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A report summarizing the psychosocial risks endured by the staff was sent by Empreva (the prevention and protection at work service of the Belgian Federal Public Administration) to the management of the museum on 17 March.

Staff complain of “unilateral decisions”, “sexist and racist comments”, and “contempt for staff and heritage.” Workers from several departments have denounced a climate of social pressure, insulting remarking, and a rule of “terror” by management.

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