Bromley library workers and supporters on strike against privatisation, 1.4.17, photo Socialist Party

Bromley library workers and supporters on strike against privatisation, 1.4.17, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Bromley library workers employed by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which was handed the service by the council last year, have been out on indefinite strike since 28 March. Before the service was privatised, Unite the Union warned that there would be cuts to staffing and pay.

Arrogantly, Bromley council made a public declaration that it would be business as usual, echoed by GLL. If by that they meant that it would be the usual broken promises and cuts that typify the Tories and GLL, then they are 100% correct.

No sooner had the transfer happened, then GLL were refusing to fill vacant posts. This soon stretched the service to its limits.

Once GLL refused to honour promises on pay and would not allow time off for the local trade union rep to carry out her role, the straw well and truly broke the camel’s back.

Unite members made clear that they were serious – the strike began and members have stayed out since. While Bromley workers have responded magnificently, outrageously GLL has bussed in strike breakers from other boroughs.

But this strike breaking operation cannot last – GLL simply does not have the resources to maintain it. Talks have taken place with the employer and some progress has been made – but pay is a major stumbling block.

The sheer determination of the strikers and the serious nature of the dispute, as shown by the fact that the union has gone for indefinite strike action is a clear indication that this very important dispute can be won. GLL is cutting services under the title of efficiencies wherever it wins contracts.

The mask has well and truly fallen off. GLL disguises itself as a charitable social enterprise – this has not fooled Bromley library workers who are determined to win this fight against the impact of privatisation.

  • Message of support can be sent to [email protected] and donations to the strike fund should be made payable to Bromley Unite and sent to Onay Kasab, Unite, 33-37 Moreland Street, London, EC1V 8BB.