The fates of 18 Dunedin Public Libraries staff will be known
over the next few weeks following the ''disestablishment'' of
Following a library staffing review over several months, the
Dunedin City Council has removed 22 positions, affecting 18
people, and created 10 new positions across its public
With 10 positions vacant at present and two part-time
fixed-term positions available, there was enough work for all
the people whose positions were disestablished if they wanted
it, arts and culture group manager Bernie Hawke said.
''We have more full-time equivalents available .. . than we
have staff needing a place, so there's an opportunity for
everyone who wants to be placed, without any forced
The changes have affected all the libraries' services,
including the book bus, community libraries and the city
He said the jobs were across the spectrum and involved
several people who worked in multiple departments.
How many of those whose positions were disestablished would
get jobs in the new structure would boil down to whether the
available roles were of interest to them, Mr Hawke said.
Staffing had not been reviewed at the library since 1998.
The new positions involved different job titles and roles and
reflected a desire to save money, but also to respond to
changes in the past 15 years in technology, including radio
frequency (RFID) systems, and the availability of new
The available jobs included the vacant Reed Rare Books
Collection librarian position, council information services
librarian and a new position for someone to digitise content.
''What we've attempted to do through this ... is position the
library to take advantage of those new technologies and new
services to provide better services and better value for the
dollar for ratepayers, which is what is expected of us.
"I believe the intention is to do that without anyone having
to lose a job.''
He declined to say how much the review aimed to save, but it
is on the public record that savings of $180,000 in operating
costs were expected from the implementation of RFID.
The new jobs would be made available in the first instance to
the staff whose positions were disestablished, as per council
policy, Mr Hawke said.
He refused to comment on whether there would be interviews
for the positions should more than one person apply, saying
he felt it was ''inappropriate '' to discuss that prior to
the process, but said the union had been involved from the
Also, the council was using a process suggested by the union
for placing the people whose positions were removed into new
If those roles were not filled by those people, they would be
opened up to the rest of the libraries' 130 staff.
Whether people who did not get one of the new jobs or chose
not to apply for one would receive redundancy would have to
be discussed with individuals, he said.
''It's quite normal for organisations to look to their
structure to see whether its operating is optimum for the
current environment, and the community would expect us to do
"I think it's responsible in the way that we've done it, to
invite staff to move from current roles to ones we've decided
will be better serving the community in the future.''
Southern Local Government Officers Union Dunedin organiser
Ann McWhirter was not available for comment yesterday.
Positions disestablished: 22 = 8 full-time and 14
part-time jobs = 18 people (some staff had more than one
part-time job) = 12.92 FTEs
Available jobs (new and vacant positions): 20 = 10
full-time and 10 part-time = 14.24 FTEs
Also available: two part-time fixed-term positions