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Strike to save Lambeth libraries
Laurence Maples and Steve Nally, Lambeth Socialist Party
Labour controlled Lambeth Council in South London plans to devastate library services in the borough. It plans to close down five of its ten libraries in order to sell them off to private gym companies. Lambeth's residents are not prepared to put up with this attack.
On 7 November Lambeth Unison held a demonstration to demand the reversal of this decision.
This was filled out by the Friends of the Libraries group and 600 people angrily marched from Windrush square to a group of councillors' surgery, ironically held in a library.
The Socialist Party energetically took part in the demonstration and our demand for an escalating programme of strike action was enthusiastically received.
There was a real understanding among protestors that councillors have other options, particularly given that they are spending £50 million on an unnecessary new town hall and tens of millions a year on agency staff.
Many protestors highlighted the injustice of careerist councillors defying Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity mandate.
Unfortunately, the organisers prevented Socialist Party members from speaking at the closing rally despite the Socialist Party having an elected officer in Lambeth Unison branch.
Shamefully, the councillors snuck out of the building, refusing to engage with protestors and left with chants of "shame on you" ringing in their ears.
A few days later 250 lobbied and attended an obscure committee meeting which saw cracks appear as some councillors put limited demands on council leaders to review their plans.
More protests and legal action are planned and Unison is considering strike action to save libraries and and much needed jobs.
Lambeth Socialist Party also held a successful public meeting to discuss how to save the libraries on 12 November and recieved media coverage in the London Evening Standard on 11 November (see inset).
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