The following statement was endorsed by Dunedin PSA union members at Dunedin Public Library and the University of Otago:
Solidarity with Auckland Libraries workers!
PSA and TEU members at Dunedin Public Libraries and University of Otago libraries stand in solidarity with their colleagues and fellow workers at Auckland Libraries who are undergoing an incredibly divisive and unsettling restructuring process. We oppose Auckland Council’s plans to disestablish hundreds of roles and force workers to reapply for a diminished number of jobs. This restructuring is being cynically sold to the public as a future-proofing exercise whereas we recognise it for what it is – simple cost cutting.
There appears to be insufficient recognition by Auckland Council of the vital social and educational role of public libraries in a democratic society. Libraries provide educational, informational and recreational resources which contribute to the development of literacy and critical thinking – vital components of today’s society.
Reducing staffing across the board is no way to improve the delivery of essential library services. The skilled workforce at Auckland Libraries is its most important asset and the public recognise this. The Love Our Libraries campaign has been started by concerned Auckland residents who cherish their local libraries and recognise the wealth of experience and connections local library staff bring to their communities. They completely oppose the proposed cuts.
There is a limit to the extent workers will tolerate employer expectations of flexibility. We oppose proposals that may reduce hours and offer no compensation for anti-social shift work. We call on Auckland Council to halt the restructuring process, stop the redundancies and re-engage with their workforce and union to repair the damage done.
Dunedin, 24th March 2017