Socialist Worker

Striking to stop library closures in Southampton

Issue No. 2207

Library workers protest  (Pic: Jake Smith)

Library workers protest (Pic: Jake Smith)

Over 200 Southampton library workers, trade unionists and their supporters held a demonstration during their strike on Monday.

The action is against proposals to replace library staff with volunteers.

The protest, outside Central Library in Southampton, was also against the closure of a much needed community library in a deprived area of the city.

Support was high among the workers in the Unison union, with ten out of 11 of the libraries balloted closing for the day.

The only library to open had to bus in non-striking staff from other libraries to make up the workforce for the day.

We wanted to strike the day before the budget to link our struggle with the message that workers are not prepared to pay for the crisis that the bankers created.

Libraries are a vital part of public services, and are seen as an easy target.

But the support that was shown for our strike shows that they are not so easily attacked.

The services are valued by the public and our strike was well supported.

Steve Squibbs, a library worker from neighbouring Ramsey and Hythe, came to support the protest.

He said, “We are facing similar cuts – they want to cut £2 million from the budget.

“That would mean 65 jobs – that’s one in seven library staff.

“It’s important that we support each other in our struggles now and in the future.”

We will be working to rule from Tuesday of this week, when we will be attending the local Right to Work protest against the public sector cuts on budget day.

Kate Swindells, Central Library Unison steward (pc)

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Article information

Tue 22 Jun 2010, 22:49 BST
Issue No. 2207
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