Staff working in one of the country’s largest public library networks are set to ballot for industrial action over controversial merger plans.
Their union, Impact, said the result of the ballot of some 150 staff of the Cork city and county library services will be announced early in July and, if they back industrial action, the precise form of action will be decided then.
Impact spokesman Bernard Harbor said staff will be balloted on action up to and including all-out strike action.
The proposed merger of Cork’s city and county services is one of several library amalgamation proposals which arose from a national review of the sector first suggested in the 2009 Bord Snip report.
Efforts are under way to reduce the number of library services nationwide from 32 to 23.
But Cork is one of the largest regions affected where it is proposed to merge a large, mainly rural-focused, service into a large, mainly, urban-focused service.
Impact said the proposal was prepared by a Dublin-based planning group which did not visit Cork and which did not take account of the different services required within such a large and diverse region — with needs differing from urban, disadvantaged communities to those in rural and isolated areas.
It claimed no cost-benefit analysis of the proposal had been produced and staff had not been properly consulted.
In a statement yesterday, Impact said it had met local city and county councillors and most agreed both city and country library services should retain their distinct focus.
Meanwhile, 2015 figures from Cork county’s 28-branch library service shows 56,381 people joined last year and 1.7m items were borrowed during over 1.6m visits to the various branches.
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