Fighting Library cuts in south Wales

Becky Davis , Cardiff West Socialist Party

Around 100 people, including Unison members, library users and anti-cuts campaigners gathered outside the Civic Offices in Barry on 28 April to protest against the Vale of Glamorgan council’s plans to inflict brutal cuts on the library service.

The council wanted to hand four libraries, half the libraries in the county, over to ‘community management’, with the staff of trained librarians cut and replaced by volunteers.

As well as this, it planned to drastically reduce the opening hours of all the remaining libraries, slash the hours of all full-time staff, sack all staff on temporary contracts, and introduce charges for some services.

The Unison branch quickly organised a protest lobby, drawing together tremendous support. Mark Evans, branch secretary of Carmarthenshire Unison and Local Government Service Group Executive, offered his solidarity, reminding those present that the cuts were being proposed by a Labour council.

The Labour cabinet voted for the cuts, but Unison branch secretary Phil Carter vowed to the lobby that the fight would continue.

The Socialist Party will be holding a public meeting on the fight to defend the libraries at the Windsor Hotel, Holton Road, Barry at 7.30pm on Wednesday 7 May.