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Reports round up: activists protest at Labour assault on libraries

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Issue 2541

More than 100 library campaigners packed a council planning committee meeting in Lambeth, south London, last Tuesday.

After sneaking in through the back door to avoid protesters, Labour councillors voted to turn Carnegie Library into a gym at a cost of £3 million.

More than 300 objections were filed against the plan.

This is part of the Labour council’s attack on the borough’s library service.

The Defend the Ten library campaign supports an alternative plan that would preserve all ten of Lambeth’s libraries.

It said, “The council’s only reaction has been to plough right on—and to lay on police and 12 security guards at last week’s meeting.

“Strangest of all, councillor Jim Dickson argued that the waste of

£3 million is necessary because of government funding cuts.”

Strikes run aground on Woolwich Ferry

On the picket line last month
On the picket line last month (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Talks between Woolwich Ferry bosses and the Unite and GMB unions continued this week.

The workers had struck twice over allegations of sexual harrasement and management bullying.

Bosses at contractor Briggs Marine operate the south east London Thames river crossing on behalf of Transport for London.

They had planned to strike every Friday until 14 April.

Unite regional organiser Onay Kasab said, “Enough progress was made yesterday for the unions to suspend next Friday’s strike.

“But we do reserve the right to take further industrial action should a settlement not be reached.”

The unions should not back down unless all their demands are addressed.


Forging resistance to Bifrangi bosses

Workers at a specialist forge in Lincoln began an overtime ban on Monday.

The GMB union members work at Bifrangi (UK) Ltd, who have refused to give workers a pay rise for the last three years.

Workers voted 90 percent for action short of strike and by 60 percent for strike.

Colin Todd, the GMB organiser, said, “The workforce has seen investment in new offices, plush floors and seating and wonder where is their cut.”

BMW bosses plan ‘pensions robbery’

the unite union has warned BMW bosses that it will call “serious industrial action” if they don’t stop their plans to slash workers’ pensions.

Workers voted by 96 percent in favour of industrial action in a consultative ballot.

Bosses at the car giant are trying to close the workers “defined benefit” pension scheme. Their attack comes as BMW recorded profits of some £6 billion.

No love for Tory union-bashers

Workers were set to hold a protest against Tory-run Portsmouth City Council as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

The council is trying to slash union reps’ facility time, which gives them time to do union activity at work.

It wants to halve the facility time budget.

The Unison, Unite and GMB unions organised the protest.

They planned to present Tory council leader Donna Jones with an “I love unions” special Valentine’s Day card, filled with messages from union members protesting at her attack.


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