Libraries Week 2019 should highlight to the public why libraries should not be used as ‘soft targets’ for relentless austerity cuts, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (7 October).

Unite, which is currently involved in disputes over attacks on library services in Bradford and Bromley, said that libraries were an integral part of the educational and social fabric - and should be cherished and not cut.

The week runs from today (Monday 7 October) until Saturday (12 October) and is a celebration of how libraries engage with their communities.

Fifty library staff in Bromley have been on strike continuously since 6 June over staffing and other issues specifically relating to Greenwich Leisure Limited’s (GLL) controversial stewardship of the borough’s 14 libraries.

About 50 library and museum staff in Bradford will strike for 14 days over swingeing cuts to the city’s 14 libraries and museums, which could see funding axed by 65 per cent. The first two day strike will be on 21-22 October.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab, who is leading on the Bromley dispute, said: “Libraries are fundamental to the educational DNA of society and for far too long they have been viewed as a ‘soft target’ for relentless cost-cutting which goes back to the start of the Tories’ brutal austerity drive in 2010.

“Libraries Week should highlight the importance that these much-loved establishments play in public life – and demonstrate, yet again, why they are worth fighting for.

“GLL in Bromley recently announced that at least 30 jobs would disappear in a so-called restructuring. Our members in Bromley, who have been on continuous strike since June, deserve double praise for predicting what was coming and making sure everybody knows what this appalling company GLL is doing.

“The fact is that even with current staffing numbers the service is struggling -  this latest proposal means library closures are definitely on the cards.”


Notes to editors:

Unite crowdfunding page and campaigning events in October is below.

You can become a library supporter at

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.