Sean McCauley, Worcestershire Socialist Party
We have won! Money has been found to secure the future of St John’s as well as Warndon libraries in Worcester. This is a victory for all those who have campaigned hard to save the library service in the area.
It shows that when we make a stand we can force our councillors to listen and to act. Socialist Party members in the city have led a vibrant and well supported campaign in St John’s. The county council now appears to have negotiated a deal with the city council for the latter to help fund each city library to the tune of £157,000.
This is welcome news if it proves to be the case that everything we have been calling for is guaranteed. We still want to check with our fellow campaigners in Unison, the local government union, that there will be absolutely no cuts in the hours worked by staff at these libraries, no redundancies or restructuring to the detriment of the staff.
We also still want to check that there will be no reductions in opening hours, no additions of unstaffed opening hours and no backdoor privatisation through alternative private means of funding.
Fight all cuts
The campaign to guarantee the long term future of library services in the city and indeed across the whole of the county is not over.
Make no mistake, in the future both councils will once more come to try to cut this service. We must be vigilant. There is only one sure-fire way to guarantee services and that is to mobilise local communities, as well as council workers, to fight austerity. We need councillors who truly represent our needs and we need fighting unions.
We demand an increase, not a decrease in funding in order to begin to put right a decade of cuts and we demand better services now. This year, however, we will see a 3.99% increase in council tax for a decidedly worse service.