Vivacity confirms no compulsory redundancies for Peterborough library staff

Peterborough Central Library, Broadway, Peterborough. Photo: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough Telegraph

Peterborough Central Library, Broadway, Peterborough. Photo: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough Telegraph

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There will be no compulsory redundancies for library staff in Peterborough, it has been confirmed.

Vivacity, which runs the service, says 15 members of staff have accepted voluntary redundancies.

The news comes after Peterborough City Council cabinet member Councillor Lucia Serluca, whose portfolio includes libraries, had assured councillors at a scrutiny meeting that any staff taking redundancy would do so voluntarily.

The redundancies are needed as part of changes to Peterborough’s 10 libraries which are currently being rolled out.

All libraries are having self-service technology introduced into them as part of a new library model which will save the council £305,000 a year.

Libraries will now stay open for 50 per cent longer with residents able to use the self-service machines, but the number of hours the libraries are staffed is reducing from 261 to 149.

The self-service technology, called Open+, is already being used by the public at Central and Dogsthorpe libraries.

It is being introduced into Thorney, Eye, Stanground, Woodston and Bretton libraries across May, and will begin in Orton and Werrington libraries on June 1.

With staffed hours changing from May 1, this means some libraries will be open for fewer hours until Open+ is up and running.

For example, Bretton, Werrington and Orton libraries will be open for 16 hours a week until Open+ is installed.

A spokesman for Vivacity, who confirmed popular library events such as Rhyme Time will continue, said: “There are always difficult times when you face funding cuts, and with that comes the threat of redundancies.

“We are continuing to support the staff under threat of redundancy and at this time 15 members of staff have elected to take voluntary redundancy with 13 of those 15 staff expressing an interest in voluntary redundancy before the consultation began.

“In an ideal scenario we wouldn’t want anybody to lose their jobs and nobody would voluntarily give theirs up, but we are facing some challenging times and both our staff, and ourselves, are having to make some difficult decisions.

“We are supporting our staff through this process and working with them to ensure that if they opt for voluntary redundancy that it is a considered decision and that we work with them to make their next steps as straight-forward as possible.”

More Vivacity respond over ‘voluntary’ Peterborough library job cuts.