Lambeth Unison Branch Committee has agreed to hold a consultative ballot of all UNISON members employed by the London Borough of Lambeth to ask you if you would be willing to take strike action as part of our current dispute over the Council’s plans for Libraries.
As you probably know, the Council plan to keep only five of our ten libraries open as libraries. UNISON opposes this attack upon public services – and we have the strong support of the very active Friends of Libraries groups in the community.
Following unofficial action before Christmas, our members in the libraries took a day of official strike action on Monday 8 February. This action was totally solid and closed every library.
This has kept the pressure on Council management and Councillors, who are considering an alternative proposal from the Head of Libraries which would keep all the libraries open.
UNISON members in libraries will be considering further action (and I will keep you informed about this). However, the Branch Committee has agreed that now is the right time to consider escalating this dispute.
In the near future you will be consulted on whether you would be willing to support strike action across the Council in support of the libraries dispute. I hope that when you are consulted you will vote “YES”. (because this is a consultative ballot and a further official ballot would be needed before any action could be called).
Your Branch Committee believe that, if the Council can defeat the well supported campaign of our members in libraries, who are the most strongly organised group of workers in the Council – that will pose a great threat to all our jobs and conditions.
We know that – even though hundreds of colleagues will be leaving as part of the severance trawl – the Council is refusing to give the guarantee of no compulsory redundancies to the whole workforce which UNISON is seeking.
A positive result in the forthcoming consultative ballot in support of the libraries dispute will send a strong message to the Council that they should be doing more to assure the job security of all Council workers.
HOW YOU CAN HELP NOW
- Watch out for the forthcoming consultative ballot and vote “YES” to send a clear message to the Council.
- Sign the online petition at https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-lambeth-don-t-steal-our-libraries.
- Come on the demonstration on Saturday 5 March (http://defendthe10-lambeth.org.uk/2016/02/15/just-announced-march-on-march-5th-windrush-square-10-30am/).
- If you live in Lambeth, write to your Councillor asking them to save our libraries (and if you have family or friends who live in Lambeth ask them to do so) – go to http://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx to find your Councillors by the postcode of your Lambeth address.
- Keep yourself informed about the library campaign at http://defendthe10-lambeth.org.uk/.
UNISON is committed to fighting hard to defend the jobs of all our members in Lambeth. Our members in libraries are now in the front line of this fight and need all of us to support them.
Please do all you can.
Yours in solidarity,
Joint Branch Secretary
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