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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 November 2015

Lambeth library workers' wildcat strike to save the service

Laurence Maples, Lambeth Socialist Party

Library workers in Lambeth, south London, shocked Labour's cuts councillors with a lightning strike on 18 November. The 100% solid unofficial walkout closed all ten of the borough's libraries ahead of that evening's council meeting to discuss the cuts.

The libraries are under attack from a New Labour council. They want to close five of the ten libraries and sell them off to become private gyms. Lambeth's library workers and local residents are up in arms about this and there has been a big campaign including a local demonstration of 600 people.

Lambeth Unison is balloting for strike action, so in order to head this off the council has started ordering library workers to take books off the shelves in an attempt to shut the libraries down before workers can fully respond.

In response, the workers walked out as a reminder to the council of their power. This was followed up by an angry lobby of the council meeting in the evening, demanding that the council keep the libraries open.

Unfortunately, workers reported that the leadership of Unison, their trade union, did not support the action. The Socialist Party urges Unison leaders to follow the example of general union Unite in not repudiating unofficial actions by members defending themselves against attacks.

Cuts

Library workers and campaigners have pointed out that even within the framework of the cuts that the council wrongly claim it has to make, it is possible to keep the libraries open.

It is plainly untrue that they are forced into this by the government - they are committed to privatisation.An escalating campaign of strike action will be necessary to save the libraries.

The workers will have huge support from service users and the local community, as shown by the reaction to pickets during the strike.

Library workers and campaigners have also discussed the possibility of occupations to save the libraries at public meetings. This could decisively block the council from sending in the asset strippers.

To sustain such an occupation the workers and Unison, with all the resources it has, will have to be at the heart of it.

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In The Socialist 25 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Back doctors' strikes

Stop the Tories' war on Syria

Autumn statement: bonanza for bosses, pain for us

Police finally own up to spies' relationships with target women

Transgender woman dies after spiteful courts pick men's prison

'Antibiotic apocalypse': profit system holds back research

Sun's racist lie about Muslim support for terror

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Socialist change not climate change


International socialist news and analysis

Bombing Syria won't stop Isis

Dictatorship's methods still reign in 'democratic' Chile

Myanmar: electoral defeat for the military, renewed class struggle ahead


Workplace news and analysis

Trade Union Momentum launched to organise to defend Corbyn

Lambeth library workers' wildcat strike

"I'm voting for Roger because I believe we need change in our union"

Steelworkers demand government action to Save Our Steel

Firefighters rally to defend pay and conditions

Solidarity with sacked BT worker

Protest demands reinstatement of John Vasey

Workplace news in brief


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Tory MP made me sick with tax credit cut lies

Transgender access to healthcare is worsened by cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Waltham Forest march demands homes for all

Fire cuts cost lives

Save Dorothy Lucy centre


 

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Related links:

Lambeth:

triangleLambeth Unison letter

triangleLambeth & South West London Socialist Party: Revolt in Chile

triangleLambeth & SW London Socialist Party: Crisis in the Middle East - will there be a war?

triangleLambeth & SW London Socialist Party: After the election - Britain's uncharted waters

triangleLambeth & SW London Socialist Party: After the election - What next in the struggle for socialism?

Workers:

triangleCovid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

triangleEconomic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleThe 'Lucas Plan'

Strike:

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

Library:

triangleVictory for library workers after 241 days on strike!

triangleKeep the National Poetry Library free

Libraries:

triangleBromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!

Council:

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

Cuts:

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

Unison:

triangleTrade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

Union:

triangleEnergy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

Labour:

triangleLessons from the Corbyn experience

Councillors:

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Trade union:

triangleWest Midlands trade union activists discuss the battle for safety on the front line

Occupation:

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

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