“Unison’s petition against cuts to the library service has now received over 2,500 signatures and the union gave evidence to the Council’s Skills Commission setting out the problems with the proposed restructuring.”
Unison members in Hackney libraries took strike action in January in their dispute over staffing cuts and changes to work practices, writes John Stewart.
Unison picket lines were held at Hackney Central and at Dalston CLR James Libraries and received good support from the public. A rally was later held on the steps of Hackney Town Hall.
Unison has put forward alternatives to the proposed restructuring, including:
– Recruiting to new development team posts in a first restructure phase whilst protecting existing jobs.
– Delaying wider staffing restructure to allows usage to continue recovering from Covid and a recent Cyber Attack.
– Running a pilot on reduced staffing numbers to see if it’s sustainable.
– Using Hackney Council’s General Fund Reserves of £168m to cover required savings and protect the service from cuts.
Hackney Council defended their plans for restructuring, arguing: “The new structure in the libraries service …. will provide better pay and better career progression for every member of staff who remains in the service. However, we know that many library staff are feeling anxious about the upcoming interviews for the new roles ….”
More strike action was planned, with Unite members within libraries balloting along with Unison colleagues.
Unison’s petition against cuts to the library service has now received over 2,500 signatures and the union gave evidence to the Council’s Skills Commission setting out the problems with the proposed restructuring. The union branch secretary spoke at the Hackney North CLP meeting in November setting out their case.
- Messages of support or donations to the strike fund can be sent via email or post to Matt Paul, Hackney Unison (Local Government) Branch Secretary, 6-15 Florfield Road E8 1DT.
- This article originally appeared in Labour Briefing (Co-operative) magazine and is reproduced with permission. Subscribe by sending a £20 cheque with your address to ‘Labour Briefing Co-op, PO Box 78639, London N16 1LA