“If these cuts go through we won’t be able to run these services,” said Unite libraries shop steward Karen Raynor, on the £2 million cuts to Bradford council’s libraries, museums and galleries.
The libraries service has faced year-on-year cuts as the council has aimed to replace trained staff with volunteers.
Karen told us that libraries have been shut for an unprecedented 203 hours, which would otherwise have been open, due to staffing shortages over the last six months.
Many staff are outraged that at the same time as making these cuts the council is spending £1.4 million on a bid to be the city of culture. As Karen said: “When I heard the news, I had to check it wasn’t 1 April!”
Not only are workers in libraries and museums set to take 14 days of strike action over the next two months, but workers at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford are in dispute with their employer too.
Socialist Party members have been building support for the strike and demanding that the council temporarily use its reserves to keep services open as part of a campaign alongside the trade unions and the public to fight for the funding the city needs.