Strikes across Lambeth Libraries called for Monday 8 February

2 February 2016

The fight to oppose Lambeth Council’s plans to decommission half of their libraries scaled up this week with the decision of UNISON to strike across all 10 Libraries on Monday 8th February. Rush messages of support via:

we support the library workers bW

“The Council’s proposal would see Minet, South Lambeth, Durning, Upper Norwood, Carnegie and Waterloo all close on the 1st April if we don’t act” said Tim O’Dell, Unison Libraries shop steward

The Council’s intention is to see Minet, Carnegie and Tate South Lambeth libraries turned into gyms, run by leisure centre contractor Greenwich Leisure Ltd. The proposal is for these to have so-called ‘lounges’ with a small selection of books – but no staff. Upper Norwood Joint Library will also lose its staff. We do not accept that such provision can be called libraries.

From continuous protesting last year, the Council have been forced to look at alternatives to these plans. We cannot accept the library closures nor the job cuts but time is now tight. On Monday members voted to start our action from the 8th February, since that decision we have continued to put pressure on the Council.

On Wednesday 27th January we lobbied the full Council meeting and on Thursday 28th January we lobbied the Vauxhall Labour Party calling on them to oppose the Library plans (already Dulwich and West Norwood Labour Party have voted against their own Council’s proposals).

On Friday 29th January UNISON met with management to receive the restructure plans but received no paperwork and no agreement of no compulsory redundancies, we therefore called a meeting of reps from all 10 libraries to plan the strike on the 8th February.

We are now in an important moment for our campaign to save jobs and crucially keep our 10 libraries open. Yesterday we met with the Friends and discussed a campaign/activists meeting this week (4th Feb – Brixton Library 7pm ), the Friends will also be picketing their own libraries on Monday from lunchtime to support our action. In addition to this they are now putting in a new legal challenge on the Council and starting to look at occupying the 5 libraries when the Council come to close them on the 1st April.

Things to do

Please support our action – keep in touch on social media   and Tweet a picture of you with your work mates holding the poster attached #defendthe10 and #savelambethlibraries

The Council are in trouble. They are facing mass opposition in their own ranks, from users through the Friends and industrially through our action. They have been forced to look at an ‘alternative’ and now we need to force them to back down on their closure plans. Many of them are looking for a way out – we MUST keep up the pressure. Please support Library workers.

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