A UNION representing more than 2,300 staff in the town has slammed LiveWire’s suggestion that neighbourhood libraries could be run by volunteers.

Unison Warrington’s joint branch secretary, Jason Horan, said the union is opposed to the closure of public facilities but would wait until the results of the public consultation are published before meeting with the council.

In addition the proposed closures, the equivalent of 18 jobs would be cut.

In meetings with residents, LiveWire put forward the option for community groups to take over the management of some libraries with volunteers running the service.

Mr Horan said: “We will not accept the use of volunteers to run a public service.

“Our concern is the use of volunteers to undertake paid employment and the removal of qualified library staff. That’s not what volunteers are there to do.

“It should be full time paid staff and if needed the volunteers would come in to support them.

“I have been to many of the public meetings and seen the anger and frustration of residents across the town.

“I’m unhappy about the lack of involvement of the portfolio holder, Cllr Tony Higgins. I’m absolutely disgusted that he’s not been at any of the meetings because it will be the council who decide what happens. How can you debate something just based on a paper report?

“Once we have a set of final proposals after the consultation the union will engage with them.”