As you will be aware we have been in discussions with the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) over the last number of months in an attempt to resolve this dispute.

As a result of the LRA intervention an Independent Assessor was commissioned to consider submissions from both Libraries NI and Trade Union Side. That report was completed towards the end of August and a follow up meeting was arranged with the LRA last Friday, 27th September.

I am writing to provide a brief update on those recent developments. The Independent Assessor in his report made a number of recommendations which were subject to lengthy discussions last Friday. At the end of those LRA facilitated discussions both Libraries NI and Trade Union Side agreed a way forward.

It has been agreed to arrange a joint meeting with management to review the job description for Branch Library Managers. This will involve considering the 2002 version of the job description (which TUPE transferred over when Libraries NI was established in 2009) and a version from 2013 (which management have indicated they have been using for some time). In addition to these it has also been agreed to discuss what additional information needs to be included. This will involve reiterating from a Trade Union perspective the additional activities and responsibilities which we have highlighted over the last number of years. It is worth noting that these discussions will be undertaken with a view to reaching agreement on a revised job description, which will then be subject to re-evaluation under the GLPC job evaluation scheme.

Obviously there is still some work to do in terms of drawing up and agreeing an up-to-date job description, but Trade Union Side are confident that with good will on both sides, this is achievable in a relatively short space of time. A article will be published to provide a further update once progress has been made.

I’m sure you will agree this is a welcome and positive development. I would like to thank you for the support you have shown over the last 16 months and put on record my appreciation to each and every one of you for remaining committed to the industrial action throughout this period. Whilst that industrial action obviously will continue at present until further notice, it is hoped that sufficient progress can be made over the coming short period to enable us to look again at that issue. In the meantime your ongoing support for the action is still required.

Paddy Mackel
Assistant Secretary