• Posted on: 11/05/2023
  • 2 minutes to read

PSA library workers celebrate deal to support longer hours at new Marlborough Library

11:04AM, 11 May 2023

Workers at the new Marlborough District Library in Blenheim are welcoming agreement with the Marlborough District Council which will allow the library to better serve its community with longer hours.

The new, larger library is opening with a "soft launch" on Friday 12 May and includes expanded weekend hours. Most workers are members of the New Zealand Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"This is a great day for staff, the council and the community we serve," said Collections Librarian and PSA Union Delegate Tania Miller who led the effort on behalf of the PSA.

The longer hours mean a change to rosters and terms and conditions for staff, something the Council and the PSA have been working together on for nearly two years.

"The opening of this library is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our staff. From day one we knew this new library would require more staff and expanded hours and our members worked closely together to ensure we got the resources needed to expand staff and protect those conditions."

One of those union negotiated conditions is the payment of penal rates to recognise the commitment library staff make when working weekends.

PSA Union Delegate and former Library Assistant, Michelle Watts, joined Tania in leading those local negotiations.

"With nearly all library staff being PSA members, we could speak with one united and strong voice which helped achieve the changes we wanted," said Michelle. "Expanding the staff and maintaining the weekend recognition is really a win-win-win for members, the Council and the community we are proud to support."

PSA Organiser Ian Hoffmann added: "When it comes to recognising library staff in Aotearoa New Zealand, Marlborough is leading the way. At a time when Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is making insulting statements suggesting libraries could be staffed by volunteers, the Marlborough District Council is saying just the opposite: library staff and their terms and conditions should be protected.

"If councils are looking to recruit and retain staff, they need to pay competitive salaries and should look at Marlborough when considering the sacrifices staff make on weekends."