Cost cutting council in bid to fund equality payout
Cumbria County Council is aiming to save £68,000 by cutting library costs in a bid to meet an estimated £50 million equal pay claim from 3,000 female workers, the Cumberland News reports.
The county council has promised that the cost cutting exercise will not include compulsory redundancies. However, any vacancies that arise will not automatically be filled and library hours across Cumbria will be reduced by an average of ten per cent.
At present, libraries in Cumbria are open for 158 hours per 1,000 people and despite the changes the hours will still remain longer than the national average of 128 per 1,000 people.
A county council spokesman told the paper: "We will be talking to unions and members of staff - although at the moment exact details of future opening hours are not clear.
"What will happen is that when people leave or retire from the library service, they will either not be replaced or will be replaced by someone on shorter hours. We will also cut our casual budget for covering sickness absence. But anyone whose hours are cut may be able to make them up by providing that cover."
Local county councillors will be able to amend the proposed new timetables for individual libraries, if public demand is such that they deem it necessary.