Private contractor Carillion makes 11 Croydon library employees redundant
A private contractor hired by the council to run Croydon's libraries has made 11 staff redundant since taking charge, it has emerged.
Managers and qualified librarians are understood to be among the workers who have lost their jobs since John Laing Integrated Services took the reins of the borough's 13 libraries in October.
The company was bought by facilities management firm Carillion just weeks after taking over the libraries.
Carillion told Croydon's library staff they were at risk of redundancy in November, just days after the buy-out, in an announcement about a restructure of the service.
The eleven staff made redundant include both part- and full-time workers, equivalent to 7.42 full-time employees in total.
Carillion refused to comment or provide detail on the redundancies but Croydon Council said the majority were voluntary.
A council spokesman said: "The council anticipated a restructure would take place when the contract was let.
"Carillion run services for several local authorities and by bringing together a number of senior posts they are able to make savings that don’t affect front-line staff."
But campaigners said staff cuts were just one issue besetting a library service also suffering from IT problems and depleted morale.
Elizabeth Ash, of Save Croydon Libraries, said: "It is being run to make a profit. It is very clinical. Staff have been moved around which is very unsettling. Staff are having to work harder to do their jobs."
She pointed to the fact no events were advertised online for World Book Day last Thursday as evidence of poor management and said "pointless" restructuring had upset staff.
Ms Ash said: "If you were quite happy where you were and doing a good job there and then you find that you've been shunted somewhere else that you were difficult to get to, it's not great."
Coun Timothy Godfrey, Labour's library spokesman, said redundancies were "entirely avoidable".
He added: "The threat to the skill and knowledge base of those running our libraries will be undermined by this move."
Labour wants to tear up the libraries contact and replace it with a co-operative model.
Coun Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, familes and learning, did not respond to requests for comment.
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