Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has won a significant victory in Bromley against the fragmentation of the borough’s library service.
The proposal from the council to turn 8 community libraries into volunteer outfits, effectively killing them off as properly resourced libraries, has been thrown into disarray.
A letter dated 6 September seen by Unite from Colin Brand, assistant director of environment and community services, states Bromley Community Link the preferred bidder for the volunteer library contract has now decided to “withdraw from the tender process and will take no further part .” Over the last year there has been a sustained campaign by workers and residents against the closures and other cuts to services across the borough, including a series of strikes and well supported demonstrations.
The council intended to use volunteers instead of paid, professional staff. Replacing paid professional and support roles with volunteers or untrained posts to save money would have threatened the service.
Now the fight is on to keep Bromley’s libraries in public hands but library workers will be able to campaign as a single united force rather than a fragmented one.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Bromley council’s plans to break-up and run-down a key public service is in disarray. Now the fight is on to keep Bromley’s libraries in public hands but library workers will be able to campaign as a single united force rather than a fragmented one.
“Workers have been fighting against the cuts and the privatisation since April last year. Many council workers have taken over 30 days of strike action in this long campaign. It’s a testament to their determination.
“A new community group called Backing Bromley has also grown to fight Bromley council and make the Tory run council answer for its many failings. Thousands of residents have shown their support. The workforce, and the people of Bromley are not going to give up the fight to stop the cuts and privatisation.”
For further information please call Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.