Tower Hamlets library staff made to reapply for own jobs

AS POET Benjamin Zephaniah declares that the libraries of Tower Hamlets saved his life by helping him with his studies, staff at Tower Hamlets Idea Stores have been re-interviewed for their jobs.

Some 23 employees were put on the ‘displaced’ list and it is believed that the grade of the post was increased and they were told they no longer qualified for the role but were on the list to be redeployed to other jobs.

Library users fear that the service could be a soft target in the forthcoming cuts and across the capital the Libraries for Life for Londoners campaign is gearing up to fight any cuts.

The head of the council’s eight Idea Stores and libraries Judith St John said: “The council is committed to ensuring residents receive an excellent service across our Idea Stores. Even in the tough financial climate, we are one of a few local authorities who are investing in libraries with the development of Idea Store Watney Market.

“The council has no plans to close any libraries currently in use or to reduce library hours, but will seek to make savings through efficiencies that do not impact on the service”

Peter Golds, the Conservative spokesman for culture said: “It’s damaging community links. There’s no doubt the staff know people and know the local places. They are very much part of the local communities.”

He said the council should abandon its plans for another Idea Store at Watney Market as a way of making efficiencies.