Vivacity respond over ‘voluntary’ Peterborough library job cuts

Peterborough Central Library, Broadway, Peterborough. Photo: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough Telegraph
Peterborough Central Library, Broadway, Peterborough. Photo: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough Telegraph
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Peterborough City Council has guaranteed that no one will be forced out of a job during sweeping changes to city libraries.

Peterborough City Councillor cabinet member Lucia Serluca, whose portfolio includes libraries, assured councillors at a scrutiny meeting that any staff who take redundancy will do so voluntarily.

However, Vivacity, the trust which runs Peterborough’s 10 libraries and will make the decision over job losses, says a final decision has not been taken.

Vivacity says the official consultation into job losses only began on Monday – four days after Cllr Serluca’s comments to scrutiny.

Staff, though, were asked for expressions of interest by Vivacity at the start of March.

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

Libraries will also 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 will reduce from 261 to 149.

Cllr Serluca told councillors: “There will be 15 job losses, but I can say with absolute confidence they have all come from voluntary redundancies.

“I do not want people to lose their jobs, but Vivacity has not had to say to anyone, ‘you are losing your job’.”

In response, Vivacity said: “The staff consultation with those affected is still ongoing and will conclude in the next week or so, at which time we will have a clearer picture of how the new-look library service will operate.

“We are determined to minimise job losses, but with any cut in funding there will always be a risk of redundancies.”

The new library model was agreed by cabinet last Friday after a lengthy consultation.

Unison regional organiser, Jo Rust, said: “There’s concern by the loss of jobs but we understand the difficulties local authorities are under when they have central government cuts forced upon them.

“Aspirations for the future will now have to change.”