Monday 22 January 2018

Wexford library staff to ballot on industrial action

By David Tucker

Staff in County Wexford's public libraries are balloting for industrial action in a dispute over the implementation of new library staffing structures.

According to the IMPACT union, the 45-staff members are also disputing what they say is the management's refusal to allow part-time staff to increase their hours, even though new full-time staff are being hired.

IMPACT official Shay Clinton said management was undermining already flexible arrangements over staffing levels which had served the local community well, even during the economic crash that had resulted in a recruitment embargo.

The union has written to local councillors to outline how staffing proposals drawn up by a Dublin-based planning group could reduce the range of library services available to local communities.

Mr Clinton said: 'Local libraries are vital social hubs in rural and urban communities that have already lost shops, garda stations, post offices and other local amenities. We can't allow our thriving library system to be to be gutted on foot of a remote number-crunching exercise, which doesn't reflect local needs or the realities of community life in Wexford.

'Staff are also incensed at the unfairness of refusing part-time library staff extra working hours when new posts recently became available after years of cutbacks. These loyal part-time staff, who did additional hours to keep libraries open during the recruitment moratorium, have now been cast aside by Wexford County Council management.'

IMPACT says the result of its ballot will be announced early in July. If staff back industrial action, the precise form of action will be decided then.

Asked about the ballot threat, Wexford County Council could not be reached for comment.

Wexford People

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