Vancouver Island Regional Libraries announced today, March 18, that it is laying off the majority of its staff.
The move comes two days after VIRL closed all of its library branches indefinitely in order to prevent to spread of COVID-19.
“As a result of the closures and as per the two collective agreements that VIRL staff fall under, we made the decision to issue notices of layoff to the majority of staff,” said the announcement.
The statement went on to clarify that BCGEU and CUPE staff will get their full pay and benefits for up to eight weeks and 30 days, respectively. Benefits will also be extended for all unionized staff for at least an additional 30 days after the layoff period notice ends. All casual or on-call employees will be paid for shifts scheduled during those notice periods.
“As we all know, the COVID-19 situation is changing daily, and VIRL is committed to responding as needed in the best interests of our staff,” the announcement said. “All options are on the table, including extending the length of time that employees continue to receive their wages and benefits.”
VIRL also hopes to go back to offering limited service in some branches and return to “more normal” working conditions in the future.
“But if we do enter a period of protracted closure, we will respond in the best interests of our staff,” the statement said.