15 Redbridge library staff to lose their jobs

Fifteen library staff have been laid off in a bid to save �510,000.

The employees, including senior community librarians, were informed of the outcome of a redundancy procedure on Tuesday, just five days before Christmas.

The restructuring comes as Vision, which manages libraries for the council, says a similar amount is being spent reorganising Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, merging the local studies archive with the reference library, installing self-service machines and redesigning the layout.

A library insider said on Tuesday: “Many of these librarians have worked for Redbridge for more than 20 years.

“They work very hard for the people of Redbridge and I have not heard of any redundancies in the arts team or museum. Why have they been so harsh on the librarians who do such a important job in our borough?”

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Another said it was “people near the top” who would be going.

Under the consultation process some librarians had to undergo competitive interviews for remaining posts, with the results announced Tuesday. The redundancies will come into force by April. The Recorder understands Vision expects a “noticeably reduced” library service from April, although all 13 borough libraries and the mobile library will stay open.

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A spokesman maintained the council is committed to investing in these libraries.

She said: “However, in the current climate, we also have a duty to make sure they are as efficient as possible and this has resulted in savings needing to be made across the service. In relation to staff posts, where possible this has been made through natural wastage, however this will also result in some staff redundancies.”

She added: “We can confirm staff affected by redundancies are currently being informed, at their request to know before Christmas.”

Unison representative Joel Glassman said he was concerned about the impact of the changes. “Libraries are at the heart of the community,” he said. “And at Christmas time, with the festivities, it is a bad time for anyone to lose their job.”

Mr Glassman said Redbridge Council had a good record of retraining and redeploying staff in other roles, but he added: “With the number of redundancies involved redeployment becomes more difficult.”

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