Socialist Worker

Southampton library workers strike over cuts

Issue No. 2215

Library workers in Southampton struck on Friday of last week and Monday of this week
Picture: Southampton Unison

Library workers in Southampton struck on Friday of last week and Monday of this week Picture: Southampton Unison


Unison members working in Southampton libraries struck on Friday of last week and Monday of this week over the introduction of volunteers to replace paid workers.

The council also wants to close two libraries.

Mike Tucker, branch secretary of Southampton Unison, told Socialist Worker that the action was well-suppported with pickets outside five libraries.

“Around half the workers on strike were picketing,” said Mike.

The strike comes after the 82 Unison members working across Southampton libraries voted decisively to rejected a new council offer.

Under the new proposals the council would have agreed with the union what work volunteers did before they were introduced. They also agreed to consult on a new staffing structure.

But the council did not withdraw plans to replace seven jobs with volunteers, or back off on the closure of Millbrook and Thornhill libraries.

Mike adds, “While recruiting a new senior manager on £120,000 a year, the council is scrapping seven front line library jobs to make the same amount of savings.

“Libraries need professional staff to provide a modern service to the people of Southampton. Untrained, unskilled, unreliable volunteers will not provide this service.

“The Tories ‘Big Society’ is a smokescreen for savage cuts in vital services.

“Southampton librarians are determined to resist the destruction of their service.”


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News
Tue 17 Aug 2010, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2215
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