Friday, 6 July 2012



Unite members in Greenwich Libraries have celebrated a famous victory following two days of strike action.

Earlier in the year, the Council made the decision to transfer the service to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). The Unite branch launched a huge public campaign, linking our fight to defend pay and conditions with the fight against privatisation of the service. Public work included regular stalls outside libraries on Saturday mornings, leading to over 700 people signing and returning our campaign postcards.

Meanwhile, the report that went to Cabinet made clear that GLL would undergo a harmonisation process after the transfer. This would lead to cuts to library workers pay and conditions. A ballot for industrial action returned a huge majority in favour of strike action. Two days of strike action were extremley well supported by the Unite members and messages of support began pouring in from residents and from trade unionists across London. In response, GLL launched a legal claim that would require a reballot. Knowing that GLL did not really want strike action post the transfer, Unite took the opportunity to press for negotiations. 

The result was that GLL agreed that there would now be no harmonisation exercise, thereby removing the immediate threat to pay and conditions.

This is a huge victory for our members in libraries. They have shown that by standing together and being prepared to fight, we can win.

Danny Hoggan, Greenwich branch sec 

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