Major job cuts at Southend's libraries

Major job cuts at Southend's libraries

Nearly half of Southend library workers will lose their jobs and there will be major cuts in library budgets, according to local press reports.

Two of seven libraries will close, while a further two will be handed over to volunteers. Paid staff will also be axed from the remaining three libraries. All in all, 45% of Southend's library jobs will be lost.

The changes to library services come after a last-ditch bid to delay them failed last week (12th December). Labour, Independent and almost half of the Lib Dem members voted to force the Tory cabinet to reconsider its decision, but the vote at full council was lost by 16 votes to 13.

Claire Wormald, secretary of the local government branch of Southend Unison, said the cuts were “really going to impact on communities and it shows those libraries left, which are supposed to be run by volunteers, aren’t going to be supported".

Derek Jarvis, councillor responsible for culture, promised: “The staffing restructure proposals will be subject to consultation with both staff and trade unions. The council’s HR policies will be applied in an effort to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.”

The council hopes to have its volunteer-staffed libraries up and running by March 2016.