At the Cilip AGM this weekend members will be asked once again to vote for an increase in subscription fees. The current fee for anyone earning more than £17,501 is £200 with the proposed increase to £204 from 2015. On the face of it this seems a reasonable rise. However, since 2010 (incidentally the start of the government’s austerity programme) subscription fees will have increased from £184 to £204 (if agreed) representing an increase of 10.8% and the third time subscriptions will have been raised in a relatively short time.
Now set this against a background of pay freezes and below inflation pay caps for public sector workers, including library staff, during the same period. Many librarians have felt the full impact of the austerity measures not only in terms of job losses but also in the increase of living costs. According to the TUC the average public sector worker is £2,245 worse off in real terms since 2010, and there are indications from ministers that pay caps are likely to extend to 2018.
With this in mind Cilip should be looking at ways of freezing or reducing fees rather than putting an additional burden on members.
Needless to say I will not be supporting the subscription increase and hope that others also question the need to do so during difficult financial times for members.