Statement by Lambeth UNISON on the occupation of Carnegie library against its closure
Carnegie library has been occupied by members of the local community protesting at the closure of local libraries by the Council.
UNISON supports the campaign to keep our libraries open and has every sympathy with the campaigners in occupation. We call upon the Council to reverse the decision to close libraries.
We note that, far from saving money, the closure of libraries to the public is costing the Council more – although the Council’s failure to be transparent about their plans makes it difficult to say how much more.
We believe that the library closure proposals, which were comprehensively rejected by local people in the “Culture 2020” consultation, were driven by the vicious cuts imposed upon the Council by the Conservative Government.
However, we believe that the Council now has the opportunity to keep all our libraries open within its budget and call upon the Council to enter into discussion about how to achieve this, as part of a unified campaign of the Labour Council, trade unions and local community against the Conservative cuts.
We further call upon the Council not to take action against the occupation but to enter into dialogue with community campaigners and trade unions with a view to reopening the occupied library as a full part of the library service.
UNISON advises Council employees not to participate in the occupation of Council premises but to support the occupations morally and politically.
We will give further specific advice to members whose workplace is under occupation.