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A significant win for Hackney Library Workers

30 Jul

photo from the hackney gazette website 25/07/2011

After a very strong campaign, senior managers have made a new offer to Hackney Library workers, promising no compulsory redundancies and no down grading of workers roles or pay. There are still some significant issues that need clarification and Hackney library workers have not as yet accepted the new proposals, but we are all resting a little easier, knowing that our jobs are safe (for the moment).

http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/anti_cuts_campaigners_force_town_hall_rethink_on_hackney_libraries_job_losses_1_973873

http://hackneycitizen.co.uk/2011/07/25/union-wins-council-rethink-over-hackney-libraries-cuts/

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Reportback from Save Hackney Libraries Mass Lobby of Council meeting 20th July 2011

25 Jul

(c) guy smallman

(c) guy smallman

Despite monsoon-like weather, on Wednesday evening, Hackney library workers, users, friends and anti-cut campaigners gathered at Hackney Town Hall to lobby councillors and protest cuts to library jobs and services. The Save Hackney Libraries Petition forced a council debate on the issue, in what was a Hackney first. Hackney Unison Branch Secretary addressed the full council meeting and put forward our case for saving hackney libraries from cuts that are unneccessary, ill-conceived and unpopular. Hackney library workers and users also attended the meeting.

Although the council was unamimous in its support for Hackney Library Service, Councillor McShane made it clear that he felt that cuts to funding from central governement, left Hackney Council with no other choice but to plough ahead with the proposed cuts.

Hackney Library workers would like to thank all those who attended the lobby, and for all the support in the campaign so far.

(c) guy smallman

photographs courtesy of Guy Smallman. Do not reproduce without the photographers permission. www.guysmallman.com, guy@guymallman.com

Reportback from Save Hackney Libraries infonight

23 Jul

Big thanks to Hackney Anarchist Group for organising and facilitating an amazing meeting on Thursday evening at the Well Furnished Social Centre in Hackney.

There was a great turnout and lots of amazing speakers, including from the Save Friern Barnet Library campaign, the Feminist Library, Save Hackney Libraries, Queen Mary Library Workers Group, concerned ex-workers of prison libraries and local esol workers. Hopefully lasting and significant alliances have been made. Full report here

Lambeth Libraries strike suspended – victory for jobs and services

21 Jul

Libraries strike suspended – victory for jobs and services
 
Strike action planned to close all Lambeth Council’s libraries on Friday 22 July
will not now be going ahead as the council management conceded that there will
be no compulsory redundancies in an offer put to the union today.

 
The latest management offer will be put to all UNISON members in Libraries at a
joint shop meeting on Monday. No deal can be made before it is discussed and agreed
by members in Libraries and we can not rule out industrial action to protect the
service, but management’s offer represents a significant victory as it protects both
our jobs and many frontline services.

 
This is a tribute to the unity and determination of our members in the libraries,
who were ready to strike to defend the library service and protect their jobs. This
is a lesson to every other worker – in Lambeth Council and elsewhere – that to look
after your interests you have to be prepared to take industrial action.

 
Lambeth UNISON, Libraries section

Lambeth Libraries on strike tomorrow (friday 22nd)

21 Jul

Press Release

Lambeth Libraries set to strike against cuts in jobs and services

UNISON members in Lambeth libraries are taking strike action over proposed
cuts which will destroy the service. 90% of library staff in Lambeth are
members of UNISON and all libraries are expected to close on 22 July 2011
unless the council withdraw its proposals.

Lambeth Labour Council is cutting £1.2 million pounds from the library service
over the next 3 years. The first round of cuts is a cut from the Cultural
Services staff budget which threatens all Enquiry Desk staff with redundancy
and deletes all the librarian jobs in the borough.

Enquiry desk staff buy books, advise readers on book choices, job hunting,
local information and council services, well as helping people find stock in the
library. They also run all the reading groups, parent and toddler storytimes,
silver surfer sessions, workshops and organise events bringing authors to
local libraries.

Ruth Cashman, UNISON steward for West Norwood Library explains that the
cuts make staffing levels in libraries unviable but there is an alternative.

“The cuts proposed by the council will mean the end of many of the libraries’
best loved services; reading groups, author talks, storytimes and ‘Silver
Surfers’. They will also mean people can’t get help finding jobs or bidding for
council houses. One library will close due to inadequate staffing as soon as
someone takes annual leave!

Some jobs in Cultural Services are safe, in fact there are new positions
created for backroom managers who don’t have contact with the public or
deliver any of the much loved services. Valued frontline jobs are being axed
but the managers who should be talking responsibility for the crumbling library
buildings or the preventable closure of West Norwood Library are escaping
any effects of the cuts.
UNISON has proposed a structure that protects frontline services and avoids
compulsory redundancy whilst still making the required savings. The council
have a choice whether to accept it or plough ahead with their unworkable
plans.

Library staff are striking for the future of a service we care about – Staff don’t
want to close libraries even for a day.

If the council agree to our proposal, which saves jobs and services, as well as
money, the strike will be called off – they have a choice.”

ENDS

Notes

1) UNISON is meeting management to try to negotiate a resolution of the
dispute up to and including Thursday 21 July.

2) If the strike goes ahead then there will be picket lines on the morning of
Friday 22 July. The main picket line and photo opportunity will be
outside Brixton Library.

Save Hackney Libraries infonight Thursday July 21, 6-7pm

17 Jul

Save Hackney Libraries InfoNight
Thursday 21st July 2011
7pm @ Well Furnished, 11 Terrace Road, E9

Info-night about how the cuts are affecting Hackney’s libraries and the
campaign to resist them. There will be speakers (workers and users of
libraries), information about the current situation and open discussion.

Organised by hackney anarchist group, more info here

Mass Lobby of Hackney Council, 20 July 2011 6-7pm.

10 Jul

 

Despite the Mayor and Council pledges to protect libraries from huge budget cuts, management is proposing to cut library staff and services that will lead to the slow death of Hackney’s library service.

Proposals include:

  • 25% less staff
  • 66% less events, including homework and reading clubs with none at all at smaller branch libraries
  • Serious cuts to staff pay and conditions
  • Replacing experienced staff with volunteers
  • Reduced opening hours at smaller libraries
  • Loss of reference librarians, services and resources

Staff believe that these major reductions to service provision will pave the way for the closure of smaller libraries in the future, such as Homerton and Stamford Hill.

There are other ways to save money and staff want to work with management to improve the service on offer to the public without shedding jobs and services whilst at the same time ensuring it costs the borough less.

 2000 local people have already signed petitions or written to the Mayor to protest against these ill conceived plans, thereby forcing the council to debate the proposals at the next full council meeting on 20th July.

 Hackney Library workers invite you to come to express your support for the library service and the important role it plays in community and protest Hackney council plans to destroy Hackney Library Service.

 LOBBY THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING

TOWN HALL SQUARE, MARE ST

WEDNESDAY 20th JULY at 6-7PM

For more information and to sign the on-line petition visit

savehackneylibraries.wordpress.com or hackneyunison.wordpress.com