Socialist Worker

Barnet library strike builds up a head of steam as bosses feel the pressure

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2508

Workers picketing in Barnet, north London

Workers picketing in Barnet, north London (Pic: Michael Bradley)


Library workers in Barnet, north London, walked out for three days from Monday. The Unison union members are resisting the Tory council’s plans to outsource the library service.

They face 47 percent cuts to library posts. Staffed hours at libraries will fall by 70 percent.

Barnet Unison libraries convenor Hugh Jordan told Socialist Worker, “We’re determined to keep up this fight,”

Pickets were well supported and the strike had a big impact.

Bosses have recruited lots of temporary workers who fear going on strike. Despite this, workers still managed to shut down six of the 14 libraries on the first day.

Strikers held a big protest outside council offices on the second day.

Hugh said the solidarity messages were pouring in and having a big impact on strikers.

It’s not just Barnet where Unison members are resisting library cuts. Workers in Lewisham and Lambeth in south London are also fighting huge cuts.

In Bristol library workers have also struck in recent months.

At a national library reps’ meeting last week Hugh said there were calls for Unison’s national leadership to fight the cuts.

Helen Davies, chair of Barnet Unison spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. “Workers have a vital role to play in the struggle to defend our public services by using their collective strength,” she said.

“Our union has policy to unite struggles together. We want to see a more aggressive promotion of that policy and for the union to start to join the fights together.”


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