Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/889/22238
Library workers prepare to escalate strike action
A Unite member
Unite members in Greenwich and Bromley are escalating the libraries' campaigns in both boroughs following recent strike action which launched a joint campaign.
In Bromley the Tories are handing six libraries over to Community Links who will run libraries with unpaid volunteers replacing paid, professional staff. The remaining libraries will be handed over to a private company.
So far, the council is refusing to say who has made a bid. Unite will now target our campaign at Community Links to persuade them to pull out - and when we get the identity of the privateers, they too will be targeted.
In Greenwich, there will be two lobbies of the Labour council in the coming weeks. Attempts will be made to persuade Greenwich Labour members to support the campaign - so far an appeal to Greenwich Momentum has fallen on deaf ears.
The council is conducting a 'public consultation.' Judging by the 1,000 plus signatures gathered on the picket lines, the response from the public will be to oppose the closure. Unite has issued a clear warning - should the council ignore the protests and strikes, there will be further escalated strike action.
Unite is making a call to all those opposing library closures to unite in a coordinated campaign. This can start in south London, where campaigners and unions in Lewisham and Lambeth are also fighting to defend libraries.
A public meeting bringing all four borough campaigns together, alongside campaign group Stand Up For Libraries and the National Shop Stewards Network, could launch a London trade union-led campaign.
Since the Tories came into government, over 400 libraries have closed. Families relying on food banks and benefits and those on low incomes cannot buy books and many will not have internet at home.
One campaigner said: "Libraries facilitate a collective social conscience - library closures lead to collective, social dementia".
In The Socialist 17 February 2016:
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