Consultative ballot launched in support of the ongoing libraries dispute

Lambeth UNISON has launched a consultative ballot across the council work force today.

The ballot asks council members whether they are willing to take action in support of the ongoing libraries dispute.

Dan Jeffrey, vice chair of Lambeth UNISON said; “We have launched a ballot today across the Council workforce to take industrial action in support of our colleagues who are fighting to save the library service. Other than for a national issue, this is the first time the branch has taken a Council wide ballot for industrial action in many years. This shows how passionately our branch feels about saving the library service which is such a crucial resource to the local community. It is a service that is not only a vital educational resource for many people, but also a facility and space that provides a multitude of services for the community. The libraries provide a life line for many people whether this be getting assistance in filling in housing benefit forms, being a refuge for those who have suffered domestic violence, providing translation services, or providing a space and play groups where parents can bring their children to. I have never seen such a passionate response from the workforce and local community in 20 years of trade union activism. The councillors need to listen to their community and change course.”

Posters at OMH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNISON activists have put up posters in the major council buildings, and leafleted every desk. There will be more stalls and floorwalking later this week to get the vote out. If you are a member of UNISON in the council and have not got your email then please contact us and we will send you a link.

If the council won’t budge… we’ll have to budge-it!

Jeremy Drinkall unpicks the latest cuts budget from Lambeth Council – another 500 job losses planned for 2016/17

Lambeth’s Labour Group of Councillors passed its annual budget on a bleak mid-winter night at Elmgreen School in Tulse Hill. It was the third in the series announced two years ago in their attempt to cut £90 million from the council’s budget. This year’s tranche is if anything more severe than the other. And it won’t be the last. Continue reading

Policy – save our Libraries

 

This branch notes that:

  1. Two years ago the public accounts committee cautioned that local authorities would soon struggle to deliver statutory services or even stay afloat at all, it was a prescient warning. In the last Public spending round, the Tory government pushed through further cuts in the public sector of £6.1 billion. The overall budget of many authorities has already fallen by as much as a third and Local government grants in England are set to be cut by 56% in the next five years. Lambeth Council have announced that they want to make 1,000 staff redundant over the next two years. We now have to fight to defend the very existence of local government.
  2. In April 2015 the Council circulated a public consultation document (Culture 2020) which recommended cuts across Libraries and Parks. On Monday 12th October, contrary to the desires expressed in the consultation to keep libraries open, Lambeth Cabinet passed a report which will:
  • Hand over three of Lambeth’s Libraries to Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) to turn into gyms. These are big public assets which are being given away to GLL on 25 year ‘peppercorn’ rents.
  • Sell off Waterloo Library and hand Upper Norwood Library to a trust to run the building with no staff
  • Cut another 25% of the staff.
  1. Unison and the Save Lambeth Libraries campaign have organised supporters to oppose the Council’s plans and have lobbied and demonstrated at levels unseen in recent years.
  2. The Friends of Lambeth Libraries have taken legal action to take the Council to court under Judicial Review on the basis of their failure to consult properly and their failure to provide their statutory obligations under the Public Library Act 1964.
  3. UNISON members in Libraries have taken one day unofficial strike action to defend their service and have balloted to take official industrial action from the New Year.

 

We believe that:

  1. The ideology of ‘Austerity’, which means the transfer of wealth from those in need to those with greed, is not inevitable but a political choice of the current Tory government. Residents in Lambeth have rejected the idea that the local Labour Council should pass the Tory cuts onto the people of Lambeth.
  2. We need to build the fight by communities and union members against the Council’s austerity cuts.
  3. Closing half the borough’s libraries is a short-sighted and irresponsible plan; public libraries are an essential part of a functioning literate nation.

We resolve to:

  • Support members in Libraries and Archives in any action they decide to take, including industrial action, to fight back against the Councils cuts/closure plans
  • Support legal action by the Friends of Lambeth Libraries over the Councils failure to consult appropriately and no longer provide its statutory duty to Lambeth citizens.
  • Encourage members to contact their local Councillor and local MPs
  • Encourage members to sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-lambeth-save-lambeth-libraries.
  • Raise within the union the call for London-wide and nation-wide action, including demonstrations, publicity and industrial action, to stop the massacre of national Library services currently underway.

Proposed: Tim O’Dell Seconded: Ruth Cashman

This motion was unanimously agreed by an aggregate vote of 110 votes for