Bromley library workers end eight-month strike

PUBLISHED: 12:06 03 February 2020

Bromley Central Library. Picture: Steve Poston

Bromley Central Library. Picture: Steve Poston


Bromley library workers will return to their jobs this week following a mammoth eight-month strike, after an agreement was struck between the union and library operator Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).

GLL and Unite, the union representing the 50 workers who took part in the strike, announced the end of the stalemate on Thursday, January 30.

According to Unite, the agreement on a library restructure rules out compulsory redundancies, while a consensus was also reached on pay progression and arrears' payments.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab praised staff who took part in one of the longest strikes in recent years.

"I want to pay tribute to every single one of our members in Bromley who have made a magnificent stand in defence of the library service," he said.

"This has been one of the longest all out, indefinite strikes of recent times and serves as an example to workers across the country preparing to fight the latest onslaught of council cuts."

Unite members began an all-out indefinite strike action in June 2019 over a number of issues, including positions being left unfilled and planned staffing cuts.

GLL, which has run Bromley's library service for more than two years, said the agreement meant it could now start the process of restructuring to modernise the library offer across the 14 borough libraries.

"Times change and libraries need to change with the times to make sure customers can access the services they want and need in a 21st century library," Diana Edmonds, MBE, national libraries director for GLL, said.

"In 2020 we will be focusing on enhancing and improving the customer experience, freeing up staff to spend more time helping library users get the most out of their visit."

Councillor Peter Morgan, Bromley's executive member for renewal, recreation and housing, welcomed the agreement.

"It is positive news that GLL are able to look forwards to the future. Residents will know that the council has a strong record of improving libraries where we can, which of course includes keeping libraries open," he said.

All libraries remained open during the dispute.

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