Archive | October, 2012

“Library staff hit out over changes” (EADT article)

17 Oct

Today’s East Anglian Daily Times has a front page article quoting from a letter sent by Suffolk UNISON on behalf of library staff to the Industrial & Provident Society (IPS) Interim Board and General Manager. As detailed in our previous blog post, the IPS which is now running Suffolk’s library network with much reduced funding from SCC has issued a “consultation” document about a new staff structure. The letter is based on UNISON’s response document. Both of these can be viewed on Suffolk UNISON’s website and they don’t make comfortable reading for the IPS Interim Board.

At the same time today’s Guardian has an article about Cornwall County Council, where Suffolk is cited with other authorities driving forward with major privatisations of public services:-

“Emboldened by the eviscerating cuts imposed on councils by the coalition government – 28% between 2011 and 2015 – large Tory-run authorities in Cornwall, Suffolk and Barnet, north London, have embarked on their own high profile versions of the Ridley model, claiming that impoverishment gave them no choice but to pursue large-scale privatisation.

To date, however, almost all have resulted in political failure. As the no confidence vote that removed Cornwall county council’s leader, Alec Robertson, on Tuesday proved, such schemes repeatedly prove toxic to the public.”


UNISON response to libraries IPS structure ‘consultation’

13 Oct

Suffolk UNISON has carried out the valuable task of capturing many comments and responses from the hard-pressed staff in Suffolk’s public library network. These should give the IPS Interim Board pause for thought, given that a system’s most valuable resource is its staff. Suffice to say that the overwhelming feeling is of low morale and the sense that staff are being ignored while trying to maintain a service under great pressure and facing further budget cuts by the Tory majority on Suffolk County Council. You can read the original IPS structure document and the response document by following links on the Suffolk libraries page of the Suffolk UNISON website.

Libraries “close to breaking point”

4 Oct

“Suffolk Coalition for Public Services and Ipswich & District Trades Council would like to express serious concerns about Suffolk Libraries  Industrial and Provident Society (IPS).

The Evening Star (20th September, 2012) has brought to public attention concern about staffing shortages and day-closures because of a lack of cover in Ipswich Libraries.

A worker is cited saying that service is ” close to breaking point”.

This has become even more evident since the Star article appeared.

Users comment that:

  • The lift in the Central Library (Northgate Street) has been out of order for some months now though we now understand it has been repaired. This denied access to services on the first and second floors to the disabled and others.
  • The Internet, one of the most important Library services, is deteriorating daily. The Browser needs updating, and as a result there is constant “buffering”. Many sites cannot be properly accessed, including Facebook, E-Mail and information sites.
  • Books have been given the wrong bar-codes, or simply not been registered on the new system.
  • There are concerns that the level of staffing is not adequate to cope with daily  public demand.
Cuts are planned, and will no doubt further affect the Libraries’ services.Behind this there is a lack of transparency about the way the Industrial and Provident Society is run, and to whom it is accountable.The issue of how local groups are organised and how they will raise the money the County Council says they will have to provide for each library has yet to be resolved.

We would like to say that the transfer of a democratically-run publicly-owned service to a private charitable organisation is not proving a success.

We continue to oppose any cuts in library funding.

Teresa MacKay
Secretary, Ipswich & District Trades Union Council”

(reproduced by Rosehill Readers with permission)

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