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20pc of library jobs lost in cost cutting restructure in Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton | Entertainment | Published:

One in five library posts across Wolverhampton will be lost under a controversial cost-cutting restructure that will see services merged, it has been revealed.

Council bosses are ploughing forward with a project to bring community centres and libraries under one roof, despite massive opposition from users who claim the moves will rip the heart out of their communities.

The proposals will save the cash-strapped council £1.1 million each year once in place.

The majority of the savings will, however, be achieved by changes to the council's library service.

And it has now been revealed the plan is to lose 30 posts out of around 150 employees within the service. Many of the staff are part-time or work Saturdays.

Eight posts are currently vacant and 22 workers are on fixed-term contracts, which bosses say will not be renewed.

Thanks to voluntary redundancies in recent years, council bosses say they can make a commitment there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Rob Willoughby, the city council's assistant director for leisure and communities, said: "As with other services across the council, positions which have become vacant in the library service over the last couple of years have not been filled on a permanent basis.

"Because of this we are currently carrying around 30 vacancies in both part-time and full-time posts which will be deleted.

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"In addition, we have accepted a number of applications for voluntary redundancy over the last couple of years.

"Therefore, we have made a commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the restructure."

He added: "The new structure has not yet been finalised, and, therefore, we cannot comment further."

Hundreds of people joined forces to launch petitions against the controversial scheme to merge library services and community centres in all-under-one-roof "community hubs".

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The moves will meanwhile include the closures of Spring Vale, Warstones, Ashmore Park and Collingwood libraries and the relocation of services.

A decision is still to be made concerning a possible move for Bilston Library.

Finchfield, East Park, Low Hill, Whitmore Reans and Penn libraries were also originally threatened but were spared after a lengthy consultation which saw thousands of signatures gathered on petitions.

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