Lambeth: Librarians walk out over cuts and privatisation

James Ivens

Librarians in Lambeth, south London, struck on 22 and 23 March against attacks on four of the borough’s ten libraries.

Members of public sector union Unison shut down every site in protest against the Labour-run council’s cuts and privatisation plans. A consultative ballot for walkouts across the entire council workforce is underway.

Greenwich and Bromley

The Socialist Party urges Lambeth Unison members to vote for borough-wide strikes. This could save the libraries, and start to force the council back on other attacks on workers. Coordinating action with threatened library workers in nearby Greenwich and Bromley would further advance all these struggles.

Lambeth Council, a stronghold of the Blair-Mandelson ‘Progress’ organisation, wants to sell facilities and staff to private gym company GLL.

Previous actions have already forced the Blairites to scale back attacks from five libraries to four. The Tate South Lambeth Library, which serves several working class housing estates around Oval, is safe – for now.

An unofficial strike on 18 November last year countered instructions to start removing books from shelves. Several lobbies of councillors’ surgeries, cabinet meetings and full council meetings have made Labour cutters very uncomfortable. Community groups are planning more direct action to defend the libraries if necessary.

  • South London fights back! NSSN public meeting, 13 April at 7.30pm, Karibu Centre, 7 Gresham Road, SW9 7PH