Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/688/12934
The Socialist 5 October 2011 |
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Fighting library closures
Campaigners face bullying and harassment
A Waltham Forest resident
Waltham Forest council in east London has recently spent £18 million on private consultants and agency staff. But like many other councils we are facing the 16th round of cuts. Youth services have been decimated.
The anti-cuts union has lobbied, protested and marched against those cuts. But this set of Labour councillors, preferring to safeguard their own careers, voted these cuts through.
In the 12th round of cuts the local library service and Waltham Forest Direct (the council's one stop shop service) is facing a £1 million cut. It is being proposed that two libraries close, Harrow Green and South Chingford.
In response to this library workers have been involved in public campaigning.
Now management wants to "investigate" a number of library workers on spurious charges. We believe that there are now four library workers being investigated on trumped-up allegations.
Management's aim is to try to silence opposition to cuts from council trade unionists while outside the council local activists and campaigners face the same fate. An activist from the Save Harrow Green Library campaign has been summoned before the enforcement officers to explain her campaigning activities, she has been advised to bring legal representation!
Activists have to 'book' campaigning space in our own square. There is nowhere for oppositional voices to advertise or campaign, especially against cuts. Now when we do what we are democratically entitled to do, like petition outside a library, we are harassed inside our workplaces and outside. But we will not be silenced.
Hampshire Unison has slammed county council proposals to make further cuts to libraries.
Around a third of the county's libraries are likely to close for half a day a week and two are proposed for closure altogether - the council is looking for volunteers to run them!
Unison is building a campaign to defend the libraries, email email@example.com if you would like to get involved.