Report: Lambeth libraries shut for two days by strike action to save the local service

Lambeth UNISON members organised a rock solid strike across the borough on 22 and 23 March to protest against the closure of four local libraries by Lambeth Council. Pictures and videos below!

The strike earned huge community support, with people donating to our strike fund. Strikers and community campaigners  handed out hundreds of leaflets to passers by.  After a lunch time rally at Olive Morris House, striking library staff went to other council offices at International House and Blue Star House in Brixton to speak to other workers and raise money for the strike fund.

Many thanks to Lewisham UNISON who came to join us on our picket line, as well as John McLoughlin from Tower Hamlets UNISON who spoke to striking workers at Brixton. Thank you also to the solidarity from Barnet, Islington, Camden and Birkbeck UNISON branches for their solidarity.

There will be more days of strikes as library workers carry on the fight, alongside local residents, to save the library service. Despite a lot of negativity from some councillors about the strike, we know that others support us, even if they are worried to do so publicly in case the Labour group discipline them.

Our commitment to saving the library service remains unwavering. It is tragic that the Labour run council have set themselves against the community and the workforce in Lambeth as they rush through Tory cuts. We urge them to come back to the table and explore other options with us to keep the libraries open and ensure there are no job losses.

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Lambeth strike march 2016 Brixton

Our picket line on Tuesday morning at Brixton library

Lambeth strike march 2016 Alex Wheatle

Local author Alex Wheatle comes to show support

Lambeth strike march 2016 FoLL 1

Lambeth strike march 2016 FoLL

Members of Friends of Lambeth Libraries came to show support for the strike and tell us what they thought of the councils ridiculous and vindictive plans

Lambeth strike march 2016 Lewisham

Great solidarity from Lewisham UNISON, also involved in campaigns against cuts

Lambeth strike march 2016 Olive MOrris

People came to join us on the protest outside Olive Morris House at lunch time

Lambeth strike march 2016 solidarity fund

We got lots of support for our strike fund

Lambeth strike march 2016 Picket and rhyme

Striking staff at Brixton Library organised a new version of wriggle and rhyme for the young ones – “picket and rhyme”!

Lambeth strike march 2016 tube support

RMT and ASLEF tube workers from Brixton came down to show solidarity

Lambeth strike march 2016 Upper Norwood

Campaigners at Upper Norwood Library with their now famous dinosaurs

Lambeth strike march 2016 carnegie

Carnegie library is being preyed upon by councillors who want to take control of the building as part of a trust. Very few local people support these proposals.

Lambeth strike march 2016 school

School students won’t be able to use their local libraries any more, no wonder so many support the campaign to keep it open

sean hariss

We made sure that Lambeth’s new Chief Executive Sean Harriss knew about our protest. Sean took a leaflet from striking workers but didn’t stop for a chat

A great day for the campaign to save our local libraries. More strike days to follow, please follow us on Twitter @LambethUNISON

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