Many thanks to Richard Beet for the latest news on Bembridge Library. Ed
A meeting between Isle of Wight Council and the organisation set up to try to save Bembridge library broke up without full agreement on Wednesday night.
Despite dealing with many of the concerns expressed by the Bembridge Library Users Association, Astrid Davies, the Isle of Wight Council’s strategic manager for partnerships, was unable to guarantee indemnity for volunteers against the requirements of employee legislation known as TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations) should the Association or the Parish Council take on the village’s library.
“Elephant in the room”
“For us, these regulations are the elephant in the room, and none of us wants to take responsibility for a situation that IWC has created,” explained Keith Fagan, chairman of the newly-formed Bembridge Library Users Association (pictured).
“We’re well aware that if we are not careful we may end up as the fall guys with the council walking away saying ‘it wasn’t us guv”. Even if we get the indemnity sorted, we’re still unhappy about the way in which existing library employees have been treated.”
TUPE was introduced to protect employees if the business in which they work changes hands and means that they, and any liabilities associated with them, are legally the responsibility of the new employer.
The legislation could well apply to Bembridge as anyone interested in taking over a lease or licence and operating the same business would be liable.
Questions over lease agreement
Concern was also expressed about the leasing arrangement on offer and the time scales for implementation. IWC has offered a grant of £4,000 towards set-up costs for this year but with no guarantee of further payments.
The Association has been told that money has also been set aside in the parish precept to help run the local library and the Association will be meeting the Parish Council in the next two weeks to discuss the ways this could be used.
Open under council until July
Isle of Wight Council is keeping Bembridge Library open until the end of June on a reduced basis of 21 hours a week. This is likely to be all day Monday (10am to 6pm), Friday (9am to 5pm) as well as half day on Wednesday.
For queries about this release please contact Richard Beet on 875557 or email [email protected]
For queries relating to the Bembridge Library Users Association, call the chairman, Keith Fagan on 874879 or email [email protected]