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‘Libraries are fundamental’

Libraries Week puts spotlight on Bradford and Bromley library disputes
Shaun Noble, Monday, October 7th, 2019

Libraries Week 2019 should highlight to the public why libraries should not be used as ‘soft targets’ for relentless austerity cuts, Unite said today (October 7).

Unite, which is currently involved in disputes over attacks on library services in Bradford and Bromley, said that libraries were an integral part of the educational and social fabric – and should be cherished and not cut.

The week runs from today (October 7) until Saturday (October 12) and is a celebration of how libraries engage with their communities.

Fifty library staff in Bromley have been on strike continuously since June 6 over staffing and other issues specifically relating to Greenwich Leisure Limited’s (GLL) controversial stewardship of the borough’s 14 libraries.

About 50 library and museum staff in Bradford will strike for 14 days over swingeing cuts to the city’s 14 libraries and museums, which could see funding axed by 65 per cent. The first two day strike will be on October 21-22 .

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab, who is leading on the Bromley dispute, said, “Libraries are fundamental to the educational DNA of society and for far too long they have been viewed as a ‘soft target’ for relentless cost-cutting which goes back to the start of the Tories’ brutal austerity drive in 2010.

“Libraries Week should highlight the importance that these much-loved establishments play in public life – and demonstrate, yet again, why they are worth fighting for,” he added.

“GLL in Bromley recently announced that at least 30 jobs would disappear in a so-called restructuring. Our members in Bromley, who have been on continuous strike since June, deserve double praise for predicting what was coming and making sure everybody knows what this appalling company GLL is doing.

“The fact is that even with current staffing numbers the service is struggling – this latest proposal means library closures are definitely on the cards.”

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