PCS campaign leads to scrapping of British Library restructuring plans

10 Nov 2017

Plans by British Library management to restructure its reader and reference services, putting about 20 jobs at risk and increasing workloads, have been scrapped thanks to PCS campaigning.

We have been putting pressure on the British Library for 5 months over the major restructuring exercise management planned to carry out on the core, frontline service to cut £670,000 from the wages bill. We are pleased to report that management has announced it will not go ahead with original plans and that no cutting of jobs in reader and reference services is to take place.

Members were very vocal at members’ meetings throughout the summer about concerns on job cuts, workloads and the effect on the frontline service. We believe our insistence that the library extends the scope to include a public consultation has also exercised the mind of senior management. This is a major retraction from initial plans, and one that your committee has fought hard to ensure.

Positive commitments

PCS, alongside trade union side officials, met with management yesterday. We welcome this decision and we feel positive commitments were given at that meeting that will reassure staff.

These include:

  • a commitment to redress the balance of agency staff employed with a view to returning these to previous levels.
  • where possible, a commitment to working constructively with staff and the trade unions on addressing the issues and concerns raised by staff and trade unions.
  • where evidence arises showing issues affecting service delivery amongst security staffing levels that this will be looked into.

PCS representatives are meeting the library’s HR director on 16 November to discuss staffing and career development issues raised during members’ meetings. We will be seeking to secure agreement on a new agency worker policy which protects both permanent and agency staff at the library and a commitment to look at options for older members of staff wishing to partially retire.

We would like to thank all members for their continued support and encourage others to consider joining PCS. We will continue to raise members’ issues over the next 12 months to achieve the best possible outcome for all our members.

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