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Unite hails 'significant victory' as group pulls out of community library takeovers

PUBLISHED: 16:15 14 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:15 14 September 2016

Burnt Ash Library on Burnt Ash Lane in Bromley

Burnt Ash Library on Burnt Ash Lane in Bromley

Archant

It follows more than a year of strike action from council workers

The ongoing feud over Bromley’s library services took another turn this week, as Community Links Bromley announced it would not be taking over a handful of libraries.

Following strike action in July, Unite has called the move “a significant victory against the fragmentation of the borough’s library service”.

Onay Kasab, from the union, said: “Bromley council’s plans to break-up and run-down a key public service is in disarray. Now the fight is on to keep Bromley’s libraries in public hands, but library workers will be able to campaign as a single united force rather than a fragmented one.

“Workers have been fighting against the cuts and the privatisation since April last year. Many have taken over 30 days of strike action in the long campaign. It’s a testament to their determination.”

But Bromley council has refuted the union’s position.

Executive councillor for renewal and recreation, Peter Morgan, said: “Not for the first time, the position is simply not as Unite portray it to be.

“Bromley’s record remains one of investing in libraries across the borough, a programme which has seen multi million pound improvements in facilities in Penge, Biggin Hill and Orpington in recent years.

“We are however actively continuing to seek ways to make the running of the service more efficient.

“The council continues to talk to different providers about operating the library service on its behalf, with our commissioned service based approach continuing to explore who is best placed to deliver the most effect library service for Bromley residents.”

Colin Maclean, is chief executive at Community Links Bromley.

He said: “CLB set out to develop a new community-led solution to the challenges which Bromley council specified in respect of the community libraries. For nearly a year, we have been committed to working towards this vision of expanding six community libraries into Community Hubs at the heart of their local communities. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to achieve the desired outcome within the Council’s constraints”. What do you think? Email us at luke.may@archant.co.uk.

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