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Less Is More For Library Staff



Faced with a mountainous task to reduce the 29 jobs that were at risk from redundancy as a result of Harrow Council’s privatisation of its Library Service to John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) on the 1st September 2013, Harrow UNISON have significantly reduced the job loss total to 5 posts.

 At the outset Harrow UNISON challenged the Council in a formal dispute with the Authority over its failure to disclose to the recognised trade unions that it knew of the 29 FTE job losses months before the transfer date.  The challenge continued well after the transfer with Senior Human Resource Officers and relevant Director’s struggling to substantiate why they did not specify the scale of job losses involved, even failing to disclose this fact to Cabinet. 

In conjunction with this challenge, Harrow’s UNISON’s negotiation team played a key role in restructuring negotiations with, JLIS, and then when they were sold lock stock and barrel to the new company in charge, Carillion. 

Unperturbed by this change of employer the Branch team, including John Royle (Branch Chair) and Jeremy Jeeves (Libraries Convenor), were key players in negotiations and reduced the job loss numbers incrementally in agreement with Carillion between November 2013 and January 2014. 

Not only did the Branch team mitigate the job loss total but amazingly negotiated pay increases through an evaluation of roles for the majority of those staff transferred from Harrow Council. 

This a tremendous outcome, good for Harrow’s residents and unprecedented given the initial scale of job cuts that were eventually disclosed by Harrow Council prior to transfer.  A job well done. 

Harrow UNISON LG Branch

Wednesday 5th March 2014