Mark Whitehead 13 November 2019

Library strike ‘longest-running employment dispute of modern times’

A strike by library workers in Bromley, south east London, is set to enter its sixth month.

Union members voted unanimously to continue the action against plans involving staffing and other issues by leisure services’ social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Limited.

The 50 library staff, who started the strike on 6 June, have now voted by 100% to continue the strike action from 25 November against GLL which has contracts to run libraries for several London boroughs.

Talks were due this week between the Unite union and GLL bosses in a bid to resolve the dispute in Bromley, one of the longest-running employment disputes of modern times.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: 'Our members have renewed their mandate for strike action from 25 November which will mean a continuous, indefinite strike into the new year – we wish to avoid this by reaching a fair settlement this week for our members and the Bromley public who are such avid users of the library service.'

A spokesperson for GLL said: 'GLL have met with Unite this week with the intention of bringing their strike to an end.

'The proposals for transforming Bromley Libraries safeguard the future of the service and jobs, by creating a more customer-focussed operation backed by the full potential of 21st Century information technology.

'Our proposed Optimal Staffing Structure sees some posts reduced as we move staff from back offices into libraries. In the past we have been able to deliver change in library structures through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies.

'GLL's not-for-profit charitable social enterprise is an experienced libraries operator. Where we partner with local authorities to deliver public library services, investment and innovation increases, libraries stay open and customer visits increase - as they have in Bromley since the transfer to GLL.'

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