20 Days Remaining

Saturday 18th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

LIBRARY workers in a south London borough are to strike for a week to fight the privatisation of the service, their union revealed yesterday.

Members of Unite who work across 14 libraries in Bromley will launch industrial action from April 1.

Social enterprise organisation Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has made a bid to run Bromley libraries on behalf of Bromley Council, according to campaigners.

At the start of the month, transnational profiteer Carillion announced that it was withdrawing its bid, as did the council’s volunteer service Bromley Community Link.

Regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Libraries are for the benefit of the public and should not be considered as a ripe source of profit for the private sector.”

GLL runs library services in the London boroughs of Greenwich and Wandsworth, and also in Lincolnshire. As previously reported by the Star, GLL is also set to take over libraries in Lambeth, south London.

Plans were approved last month for the company to convert part of Herne Hill’s grade II-listed Carnegie library into a gym.

Leading library campaigner Ian Anstice told the Star: “By contracting the library service out to a private company, the council is effectively admitting its own inefficiency and its willingness to give a portion of your tax away to pay for its failings.

“What the council needs to be able to explain is why it cannot be as efficient as, presumably, it is claiming the private company is — and look to managing its own services more effectively.”

Unite said it was compiling evidence of the council’s “failings in their statutory duties to protect the people of Bromley” in a number of services.

Residents in Bromley are facing a council tax rise of nearly £50 per head over the course of a year, according to local newspaper Kent Live.