Striking Bromley library workers received a very warm welcome from delegates to the TUC union federation’s conference in Brighton last Sunday.
The Unite union members from south east London, walked out indefinitely over staffing and other issues in June.
Around 20 of the workers addressed a fringe meeting organised by the National Shop Stewards Network.
They sang labour movement songs—with lyrics adapted for their fight against outsourcer Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).
Kathy, the Unite steward, told Socialist Worker they have been drumming up support for their fight.
“This is our 13th week of action and we’re still going strong,” she said.
“We’ve been picketing outside our workplaces and we have protested around GLL’s other sites in London.”
Kathy said they wanted to “damage the brand” through a “leverage campaign”. “They want to bring in the new staff structure,” she explained, “but no employer ever does that without there being fewer jobs at the end of it.
“They say that they are a social enterprise, but the bosses have all got high pay.”
GLL was set up to run leisure centre services by nearby Greenwich council in the 1990s.
It has grown into a giant that controls council services across large parts of the capital—and has expanded to library services.
A council committee meeting at Tory-run Bromley talked about a review of GLL’s contract on Tuesday night of last week. Unite members and their supporters lobbied councillors outside.
Kathy said that bosses’ attitude came out during the questioning. “When the councillors asked the chief executive of GLL why we were out on strike he said, ‘I don’t know,’” she said.
“Even some of the councillors were shocked.”
The workers should be brought back in-house immediately.
Councillors who broke with Labour spoke
Keep up the action, keep up the militancy
Jo Grady only just survived criticism of her record
Resist Tories’ repressive plans