Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2011

Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cuts

A library worker

The library service I work for has been told to cut over 1 million. Immediately this has led to the cutting of overtime for staff and the effective scrapping of a casual pool of labour which we have come to rely on because of increased opening hours and the changing nature of the work.

My job is interesting and worthwhile but without enough staff it becomes more like an information factory.

We supply books to the elderly and disabled who are housebound. The reduction in casual workers has meant that we now have to deliver this service whilst serving people on the front counter. This means discharging, putting away, choosing and issuing books to over 80 people (all of whom want between five and 20 books each) and are waiting alone at home for this service.

Every day hundreds of people come to the library so we are now expected to serve those people and deliver the housebound service as well. It is common to have five groups of schools coming through the doors, that means five groups of 30 children bringing books back and taking books out.

There are 18 computers (which often break) and which people need assistance with. There's a book club that we have to read and prepare for, often in our own time.

We have seen a jump in unemployed people all wanting help to write their CVs and who have been directed to us by a cut and struggling job centre and careers service.

There's an increase of people with mental health problems in the library.

Council house bidding magazines are issued at libraries and now we are being expected to assist access to the bidding procedure. This can be stressful and time consuming, as essentially this process is a scramble for diminishing housing stock.


Last week a young African woman with two small children clutching at her skirt beckoned me over. She seemed embarrassed and said she wanted to talk to me privately.

She told me that she needed help in accessing charities that administered help such as children's clothing and food for herself and her girls.

I thought she might be a victim of domestic violence and was destitute so I took my time to help, all the time the queue building up on the other side of the counter.

With cuts to benefits we will be expected to direct people to the myriad of religious and philanthropic institutions to help them get food and clothing.

Before this cut to hours my library usually had four members of staff but it is common now for us to be left with three and sometimes only two. With two members of staff it's too dangerous to leave one person alone so we take our tea breaks on the counter, which often means we don't get a break.

After cutting all the casual staff the managers realised they couldn't keep libraries open over lunch times. So they arbitrarily decided to rip up a negotiated lunch time agreement.

This is because the chief executive said he was fed up driving past libraries and seeing them closed over lunch.

This hatchet man, who receives around 200,000, gets angry when he drives past workplaces where workers are taking a lunch break!


I am running a straw poll at the moment in our campaign to get a ballot from our union to sanction action that would allow us to defend our lunch break.

Even I'm surprised at the response. Over 75% of members said that if a ballot was called they would vote for action to close libraries over lunch times if we don't have enough staff to have our lunch break in the agreed time.

Union leaders say that people are too scared to take action but if workers are angry enough they will respond. There is seething anger on the frontline.

I'm angry all the time. This mood, if channelled would probably deliver a general strike now.

Without leadership this fight will be sectional, fractional and less effective. As well as fighting in our immediate workplaces and regions we can't let up on the pressure for a national generalised movement, much like the campaign for 26 March, only this time for action, strike action.

Strike action could bring down the government of millionaires and their lackeys in the town halls and hospitals.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 11 May 2011:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fight for the NHS

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

PCS conference: prepare for united action on 30 June

Crucial time for Saltend dispute

Defending trade unionism on London Underground

Poverty minimum wage

Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cuts

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Students

Students occupy against cuts at London Met

For sale: university places

Socialist Party election analysis

Government Con-Demned at ballot box

TUSC shows alternative to Con-Dem and Labour cuts

Labour wins Welsh Assembly election -

SNP landslide but it will be a government of savage cuts

Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend independent living rights

Con-Dems put squeeze on democratic rights

Bahrain repression: Muted criticism of West's ally

Suffolk Tories in retreat?

News in brief

International socialist news and analysis

UN report on Sri Lanka war crimes

Socialist Party reviews

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Review: Panorama on housing: The human impact of the crisis


Home   |   The Socialist 11 May 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleRussia 1917: how art helped make the revolution

triangleBromley library workers strike against privatisation

triangleSave Plymouth's libraries!

triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!


triangleRare opportunity to see Russian revolution lifted off the page

triangleArts unions agree joint campaign work

triangleThem & Us


triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice