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

Library and museum staff in Bradford will be holding a ballot for strike action as residents continue to face swingeing cuts to the city’s 14 libraries and museums. 

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 10 September) that it will hold a ballot for strike action and industrial action short of a strike of its approximately 50 library and museum members in defence of the library and museum service.

The ballot opens on Friday (13 September) and closes on Friday 27 September.

Unite has charted a decade of cuts to libraries and museums by the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council – the latest £950,000 for the year starting April 2019 and a further £1,050,000 earmarked from April 2020.

Unite regional officer Mark Martin said: “The council did offer to pause the process to allow for a meaningful consultation to take place over the swingeing cuts to the museums and libraries’ budget, but the council quickly U-turned on this and decided to recklessly press on.

"The cuts would be devastating and adversely impact these services. Our members are being balloted to protect their work life/balance, and terms and conditions, as well as to prevent redundancies.

“The council is hell-bent on destroying the district’s museums and libraries service at a time when it should be supporting them, if it wishes to succeed in its bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.

“Brutal Tory local government cuts to Bradford council's funding have meant that some reductions are inevitable, but the authority has a duty to consult with Unite to find alternatives, wherever possible, to cutting staff and/or terms and conditions.

“We are calling for the council to urgently reconsider this rolling programme of detrimental cuts that undermine Bradford’s libraries and museums – an integral part of the city’s social and educational fabric. 

“The impact of these cuts on users will mean that the council is moving towards predominantly community managed or hybrid libraries.

“These failed models will see libraries staffed by volunteers, rather than professional librarians who do far more than they are credited for, including running classes and assisting vulnerable people to complete benefit forms online.”

Unite members had voted by 79 per cent in a consultative ballot that they wished to proceed to a full-scale industrial action ballot.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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
Email: shaun.noble@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.

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