Bradford council bosses are being ‘obdurate and foot dragging’ in talks to resolve the dispute over swingeing cuts to the city’s 14 libraries and museums, Unite said today (November 14).
Unite threw down the gauntlet as more than 70 of its library and museums’ members were gearing up for four more days of targeted strike action, starting on Monday (November 18), over the cuts. Staff have already taken five days of strike action this autumn.
The industrial action comes as the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council launched a consultation, which closes on Friday December 20, on the future of the library service – Unite is urging the public to make its views known if they want to safeguard the service for future generations.
“We met with council officers on Friday (November 8) and again asked for a pause in the process to put our alternative proposals to them. In return, we would suspend our industrial action,” said Unite regional officer Mark Martin.
“However, the council officers refused to pause the implementation of the staffing changes and we were, therefore, left with no option but to continue with our industrial action. We think the council bosses are foot dragging and being obdurate over our attempts to resolve this dispute.
“Unite is continuing to press the elected councillors to think again regarding these damaging cuts and will be meeting with Unite-supported councillors next week to make our case directly to them.
“Meanwhile, our Unite Community members will be encouraging members of the public and Unite members to make representations to the council consultation document.
“Strike days next week are targeted at certain workplaces, but with an all-out strike at the 14 libraries and museums on Thursday (November 21),” he added. “There will be pickets and demonstrations at the selected workplaces.”
Unite has charted a decade of cuts to libraries and museums by the council – the latest £950,000 for the year starting April 2019 and a further £1,050,000 earmarked for the financial year starting April 2020.
The targeted action next week will be a 24 hour stoppage by Unite members commencing at just past midnight on Monday (November 18) at Keighley Library, North Street, Keighley BD21 3SX.
This will be followed by a 24 hour strike on Tuesday (November 19) at Shipley Library, 2 Wellcroft, Shipley, Bradford BD18 3QH.
On Wednesday (November 20), Unite members will strike for 24 hours at Baildon Library, Hall Cliffe, Baildon, Shipley BD17 6ND.
On Thursday (November 21) all 14 sites will be hit by strike action and there will be a picket and demonstration at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Lister Park, Bradford BD9 4NS on Thursday starting at 08.30am.
A five day stoppage is scheduled for December 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.