Eight-month strike by Bromley library workers ends after agreement reached with employers

An eight-month strike by library workers has ended after they reached an agreement with their employers on redundancies and pay.

The 50 workers from Bromley libraries will head back to work on Wednesday after ending their dispute at 14 libraries across the borough, which started on June 6 last year.

The libraries had been under the council’s control until it handed them over to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) two years ago and the strike began over fears that they would be made redundant by the company.

During the strike action, GLL announced a new job structure which could have led to immediate job losses for current staff.

The new agreement reached includes new staffing structures being introduced and no compulsory redundancies.

An agreement has also been reached on pay progression and arrears payments.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “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.

“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.

“Bromley council is at the forefront of implementing Tory cuts which is why this dispute is so important.

“We have come away with an agreement which protects jobs and ensures that our members are paid what they are owed. That is an achievement that every one of our members can be proud of.”

Diana Edmonds, national libraries director for GLL, said: “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.

“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, executive councillor for Renewal Recreation and Housing, said: “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.

“I am pleased that our planned improvements to the Bromley children’s library are now already being enjoyed by library users with our attention firmly focused on further improvements to our libraries.”

Pictured top are protesters at one of the demonstrations.

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