Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/880/21787
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.
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:
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Back doctors' strikes
Stop the Tories' war on Syria
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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
The Socialist 25 November 2015 |
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