Job saving alternative to Havering library cuts submitted by workers

Melvin Wallace, 69

Melvin Wallace, 69 - Credit: Archant

A last-ditch attempt to save Havering’s library service from huge cuts has been submitted to the council by its workers.

Management and staff members came up with alternative proposals at the 11th hour ahead of the consultation deadline, which was due to be Monday but was extended until today (Fri).

The plans, which were emailed to all councillors, claim to achieve the hefty £1.14million savings, keep libraries open for more hours than originally proposed while saving 16 jobs, the local studies team and the Summer Reading Challenge,

This is achieved by changing contracts of managers from full time to however many hours the library is open, and reducing policy officer posts.

Cllr Melvin Wallace, cabinet member for culture, said the proposal will be considered at the cabinet meeting later this month, along with all other responses received.

The proposed cuts to the libraries have led to protests. In September, a worker used the council-run Havering Libraries Twitter account to vent their anger, while 120 protestors turned out at an Upminster Library meeting two weeks ago.

The 21-page document has received community support after being posted on the libraries campaign page on Facebook.

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Ruth Norton, who runs the page, said: “Libraries shouldn’t have been made to make that percentage of cuts.”

Ex-councillor Andrew Curtin, champion of the library service, added: “What we need now is for the administration to stop punishing the service by taking out 45 per cent of controllable spend, while the figure is only 33pc across the Council as a whole.”

Current plans would bring the opening hours down from 533 to 350, but the new proposals reduce that to 403.

The new plans would see 29 job losses rather than 45, and there would be less impact on community services and groups.