A packed public meeting has been told that plans by Bradford council to cut the libraries and museum services by two thirds (65 per cent) is an ‘act of cultural vandalism’.

Over 160 members of the public yesterday, (Wednesday 18 September) crammed into Keighley Civic Centre to listen to concerns about the future of the service. They heard how the planned cuts of 65 per cent from the libraries, galleries and museums service, will lead to job cuts and the closure of public assets.

Strike ballot

The meeting was organised by Unite’s, (the UK and Ireland’s largest union), Bradford council branch. The union is currently balloting approximately 50 members employed in the library and museum service for industrial action, in defence of the service.

The ballot opened last Friday (13 September) and closes on Friday 27 September. If members vote in favour of industrial action then strikes could begin next month.

Public angry

Members of the public expressed their opposition to the planned cuts in the library service. One resident said: “I was born in Bradford. I am annoyed about the cuts, this is our heritage”. Another added: “Parents are worried that their children will have nowhere to study.”

The council’s proposed cuts to the library and museums services which will see two million pounds cuts from the service over the next two years, coincides with Bradford council earmarking £1.4 million to prepare a bid for city of culture in 2025.

Cultural vandalism

Unite representative John Giles who is employed at Ilkley library told the meeting: “This is an act of cultural vandalism and there are no cuts which will not damage the service. These cuts will no doubt lead to closures.

“Managers have ignored their own procedures and they have ignored their own staff. We want management to get back around the table and consult properly.”

Invest in services

Patrick Kerry, corporate convenor for Unite at Bradford council added: “We want to see a five year strategy with investment from Bradford council. Don’t hide behind austerity, invest in our services.”

A further public meeting has been scheduled for Monday 23 September at 19:00 taking place at the Dominica Association, 10 Worthington Street, Bradford BD8 8ET.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Bradford libraries and museums’ staff to be balloted for strike action over ‘swingeing cuts’

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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