Support Councillor Rachel Heywood!

Councillor Rachel Heywood’s brave public call for support with local residents and workers fighting to keep libraries open is a real inspiration. Clearly the Labour Council leaders were furious with her—they voted to suspend her as a Labour Councillor for 6 months.  Now other councillors are speaking out—a sign that the growing movement against the demolition of our homes and the closure of our libraries is having an effect. The Progress dominated council are losing the argument, and if they carry on like this then it will have a damaging impact on Labour’s local performance in the next council elections.

Please sign the petition for her reinstatement

Housing Services Phase 1: The answer to our problems – three more Assistant Directors?

Staff are overstretched, the HRA is facing financial pressure and workers fear for the future of their jobs. Here at Lambeth, our bosses have the perfect solution—more high paid managers!

The Director of Housing has launched “phase one” of a restructure which has been expected since Lambeth Living returned to the Council last summer.

The “Phase One” proposals do not threaten any redundancies – quite the reverse. As well as changing a number of reporting lines (mostly for managers) the proposals seek to create three new Assistant Director positions. The Director has told the trade unions that, in “Phase Two” he will aim to move more staff into front-line housing management roles.

Because there are no redundancies proposed, the Council is permitted to allow only a short (one week) period for consultation – UNISON encourages members to look closely at the proposals so that we can respond as soon as possible.

UNISON want to know

  • Given the financial pressure on the Housing Revenue Account (and the Council’s Budget generally) how can we afford three additional senior posts?
  • How can we justify more highly paid managers in an already top heavy Council?
  • Since black workers are underrepresented at senior levels why is there no Equality Impact Assessment and no proposals for positive action in filling senior posts?
  •  As there are no proposals for redundancies in “Phase One” will the Council assure us of no compulsory redundancies in Housing in “Phase Two”?

The Council has ruled out compulsory redundancies in libraries – where UNISON members have taken strike action. If we want to protect our interests as workers in Housing we need to be prepared to stand up for ourselves.

If you are a UNISON member – contact your shop steward or Branch Secretary, Ruth Cashman

(RCashman[at] If you are not a trade union member visit now!


Council wasting money on keeping library closed

carnegieoccupation Lambeth Council is wasting thousands of pounds on security guards in the closed Minet and Carnegie Library buildings. The cost of these security guards is more than it would have cost to keep them open in the first place.

A freedom of information request from the Guardian reveals the figures;between the closure of the libraries on 31 March and the 15 April when the request was made the council has wasted £35,392.68 on security, costing over £2,200 a day. Last year the libraries cost just £874 a day to run.
The decision by Lambeth Council to close several libraries in the borough was so unpopular it inevitably led to large demonstrations and an occupation of Carnegie Library. They could have avoided this entire mess if they had worked with the residents and staff to come up with an alternative that kept the libraries open.
As it is the reputation of the council has been ruined – the Progress dominated cabinet stand before the people of Lambeth as unaccountable and uncaring austerity pushing careerists who are happy to ride roughshod over the aspirations and wishes of local people.
And instead of saving money, this entire exercise is costing local people even more. Welcome to the Co-operative Council.