LIBRARY managers in Bournemouth will see their pay reduced as part of a "realignment" of jobs.

The changes will see all the town's 22 libraries kept open, without a reduction in opening hours, according to the council. However, new management roles will be created with pay based on scales in use in neighbouring Poole.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, Cllr Jackie Edwards asked whether the staff were being "downgraded".

"I believe one of the consequences of the Bournemouth library service merger with Poole is the proposed downgrading of all the library managers, assistant and stock managers, approximately 30 people," she said.

"Whilst I understand their salaries will be protected for three years, after this period I believe it will then drop to Poole's lower rate of pay. Is this correct?

"And does this mean library assistants will have managers' responsibilities and all that entails but without the appropriate higher pay?"

Cllr Pat Oakley, cabinet member for leisure, said it was "not accurate" to term the changes downgrading. "All jobs within the library service are being realigned in line with what the trade unions (have agreed) and the existing processes," he said.

"The merger of the two library services will enable both councils to deliver significant savings while ensuring all libraries remain open, and opening hours are not reduced.

"In order to achieve these outcomes a new structure is being implemented that reflects the need to maintain staffing levels in individual libraries at appropriate levels whilst reducing management costs.

"New job roles have been created that reflect the needs of the new service, and these have been graded through the Poole job evaluation process, in conjunction with the appropriate trade unions.

"This process takes into account the expectations of each role and applies consistent criteria to ensure equity across all council posts."

If staff move to a lower paid role, he said, "the council's policy on pay protection will apply".

Cllr Edwards also asked whether the changes could see staff moved to different libraries within the borough.

Cllr Oakley said there would be an "opportunity for staff to work at different libraries". He said staff may have to relocate if "there is a clear business reason to do so".