BRAINBOX librarians in Sandwell’s Libraries are so furious about plans to replace them with volunteers off the street they are set for industrial action next month.

UNISON has announced from August 1 the normally mild-mannered librarians will be working to rule and refusing to carry out anything but the most basic of their duties.

The ballot, which 87 per cent of members took part in, resulted in a massive 97.5 per cent voted for action after learning of Sandwell Council’s cost cutting plan.

Tony Barnsley, Joint Assistant Branch Secretary for Sandwell UNISON General Branch, blasted Sandwell Council.

He said: “Unfortunately the Council failed to take up our suggestion of binding arbitration to resolve this dispute.

“Library assistants are very proud of the service they provide to the public and will be sorry to cease providing the excellent guidance and advice that they give the public day in day out.

“Regrettably the Council's job evaluation does not recognise the advice and guidance they do give and have therefore been denied their rightful pay grade.

“Our members solidly support this action and we hope the Council reconsiders it's position. In the meantime UNISON will continue to negotiate to seek a settlement that brings pay justice to this group of low paid workers.

He added: “Sandwell Council has formally been notified of this vote and notice will be served that action will begin on 1 August.”

The union has called on their members to stop altogether a raft of their duties as they believe they are not included in the new pay grade.

In a letter to members the UNISON leadership said: “You have not been recognised for such duties under your job evaluation.

“Therefore we urge every library assistant to stay united and cease all the above duties until the Council does recognise them.”

From August 1 all UNISON members will stop advising people on how to complete job application forms, stop giving advice on reading materials, stop giving advice to groups of users and reading groups, stop outreach work at schools and organising events and stop providing guidance to people on how to use computer software.

They will also cease My Guide sessions and helping people researching family history, stop guiding users on the self-serve system, cold shoulder volunteers, stop translating and stop taking responsibility for locking and opening libraries.