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Strikes at Bromley libraries over “insulting” pay offer

PUBLISHED: 09:45 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:12 28 March 2018

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said Unite regret the inconvenience the strike will cause. Picture: Andy Barnes

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said Unite regret the inconvenience the strike will cause. Picture: Andy Barnes

Archant

Staff at all 14 of Bromley’s libraries will start an indefinite strike today (Wednesday, March 28) over a “paltry and insulting” pay offer, confirmed Unite, the country’s largest union.

The strike by the 36 workers comes after the breakdown of pay talks on Monday, March 26, between Unite and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), which runs the library service on behalf of Bromley council.

The strike is the latest to hit the council following concerns over its outsourcing policies.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We began talks on a compromise based on the local government pay offer, which is only two per cent for most people, but with higher increases for some of the lower paid.

“However, the company yesterday confirmed it cannot commit to this formula.

“Therefore, having transferred out from local government in November 2017, our members are already being penalised and seeing their pay cut.

“We have submitted a Freedom of Information request to the council to discover the machinations and promises that have been made in the confidential transfer agreement for the libraries to GLL.”
Mr Kasab also stated that the strike would hit the running of the libraries, causing inconvenience for the public, which he said Unite regret.

He added: “GLL claims it is the UK’s largest leisure charitable social enterprise and also claims to be a staff-owned trust.

“Yet the staff who supposedly own the company are told by the bosses that their pay will be eroded after less than six months of being taken over by GLL.”

A spokesman for GLL said: “It is most regrettable that after keeping dialogue with Unite open to the 11th hour, the union is continuing with plans for strike action.

“Unite represents under a quarter of library staff in Bromley and our priority is to maintain a ‘business as usual’ service – all Bromley libraries are open today.

“GLL is a worker-owned charitable social enterprise which puts the community and our staff at the heart of our public services. We have committed to pay London Living Wage in Bromley and to meet the 2% NJC headline rate.

“The union demands are not sustainable.”

GLL have also confirmed that all libraries will be open as usual this week.

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