LETTER TO THE GUARDIAN IN SUPPORT OF JEREMY CORBYN

Polly Toynbee has inevitably fired a vitriolic salvo against Jeremy Corbyn, holding the supposedly ‘dismal, spineless’ Labour leader responsible for the Brexit vote. The anti-EU vote in many Labour-held constituencies shows not Corbyn’s weakness, but highlights instead the long-term withering of labour movement organisation in wide swathes of England and Wales, which no leader could have reversed in just nine months.
The systematic closure of factories, mines and other union-organised workplaces during the Thatcher years has left a bitter legacy of an atomised working class that has yet to rediscover a progressive voice. New Labour certainly wasn’t that voice and many champions of ‘remain’ in the Parliamentary Labour Party, including Margaret Hodge, Tristram Hunt and Stephen Kinnock, keen to oust Corbyn, might well ask why their own constituents largely backed Brexit.
Still, Toynbee belatedly recognises the importance of effective unions. Alas, I cannot recall her advocating ‘unions into all workplaces, [as] political educators about rights and solidarity’ during the Blair-Brown years, which saw the retention of the most drastic restrictions on collective union action in western Europe. Relentless outsourcing and enfeebled unions, rather than migrant workers, have led to the real decline in living standards for so many.
Ironically, she now chooses to concentrate her fire on the first Labour leader in living memory to actively promote trade unionism. Having attended last week’s Unison conference in Brighton, along with nearly 3,000 others, I know that Corbyn received a very warm reception the day before the referendum vote and nigh unanimous support from delegates as word emerged on Friday afternoon of still another attempted ‘coup’ at a time when both the Tory government and party are in disarray.
George Binette
Camden UNISON Branch Secretary

Barnet Library Workers on Strike

Barnet library workers on strike

“Our members in Barnet have been at the sharp end, with the council outsourcing anything it can. The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all.”

 

Dave Prentis UNISON General Secretary                                                                                                                                                                 

Dave Prentis takes support and solidarity to north London picket line in strike over plans to outsource library service

General secretary Dave Prentis with striking members and the Barnet UNISON banner outside The Library, in Barnet, north London

General secretary Dave Prentis took the union’s support and solidarity to striking library workers on the picket line in north London this morning.

“You have got our full support and if you need any help just let us know”  

 

Mr Prentis speaking to the #BarnetStrikers

 

The UNISON members were on the third day of their strike over Barnet council’s plans to outsource the borough’s library service.

“Council services up and down the country are under attack as the Tory government in Westminster piles still more cuts on five years of austerity,”

said Mr Prentis.

“Our members in Barnet have been at the sharp end, with the council outsourcing anything it can. The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all.”

unison.barnet-library-workers-on-strike

#BarnetStrikers

#SaveBarnetLibraries

Standing up to the “easycouncil”

Standing up to the “easycouncil”

“The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all – and we will stand by them as they fight for their jobs.”
Dave Prentis,
UNISON General Secretary

The assault on our public services in recent years has fallen hardest on local government – with libraries particularly under fire.

And there are few areas that have suffered greater attacks from their local authority than Barnet.

“You have got our full support and if you need any help just let us know”                                                                                                             Mr Prentis speaking to the #BarnetStrikers

So I was proud to be on the picket line alongside library workers today, taking the fight to the so-called Tory “easycouncil” and showing local people how severe and damaging the cuts to their local services really are.

Image

I spoke with activists Fiona Turnbull and Hugh Jordan (Barnet UNISON’s libraries convenor) about the sheer scale of job losses and service cuts being inflicted on an already bare bones service. At Chipping Barnet (where we met this morning) the library will lose 33 staff hours (down from 56.5 hours at present). Other libraries will lose more than half of their size and be reduced to volunteer only provision.

Services lost or weakened. Jobs cuts. And those in the community who need them most left to suffer.

“Our members in Barnet have been at the sharp end, with the council outsourcing anything it can. The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all – and we will stand by them as they fight for their jobs.”

Dave Prentis,

UNISON General Secretary

unison – standing-up-to-the-easycouncil

#BarnetStrikers

#SaveBarnetLibraries

Defend the 10 libraries campaign – Message of Solidarity

‘Defend the 10 libraries campaign in Lambeth sends solidarity to all the library workers taking strike action this week to stop the destruction of the library service in Barnet.

With cuts, closures and privatisation of our library services up and down the country we know how important it is to stand up and fightback. Your action will not only help in the battle to stop Barnet’s plans but will also give heart to everyone who wants to see an end to the ongoing devastation of vital library services.

We wish you all the best! Your fight is our fight!’

Michaela Loebner  Defend the 10, Lambeth

save-libraries-march-mar-2016-01

 

Solidarity Message from Barnet Trades Union Council

 

To our brothers and sisters in Barnet UNISON – your fight against the privatisation and decimation of Public Services by the ideologically driven Tories in our Borough is an inspiration to the Trade Union movement.

Libraries are a beacon of any civilised society, providing a safe environment where generations of our community have benefited from this vital social service, helping to bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots. 

Libraries are spaces where people of all ages and all backgrounds can practice lifelong learning, something that the Tories in our Borough well understand and find distasteful.

We stand with you in your fight against this attack on our community.

In Solidarity,

Barnet Trades Union Council

13095910_10201829040244332_3904400565709895025_n

Message of Solidarity from Barnet Alliance For Public Services & Save Barnet Libraries

“BAPS and Save Barnet Libraries support your strike action and hope to see you on the picket line. As you know our two groups have been campaigning to save the library service since the first dreadful plans were put forward. We understand the value of trained professionals, and appreciate that it is your skills and experience that have provided the high-quality service that we have enjoyed and depended on. We deplore the cuts in space, material resources and, above all, in your jobs.

We are still working on the campaign and stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”

In solidarity.

BAPS and SBL

5402930672_6e91f83772download

Message of Solidarity from Barnet NUT

A message of support to library workers organised by Barnet Unison

Barnet NUT gives 100% support to the forthcoming strike by our fellow workers in Barnet Libraries. Of course we extend this support in the spirit of worker solidarity – an injury to one is an injury to all. But we also support you because of the valuable work you do in performing such an important public sector and public education role for all the residents of Barnet. Without your contribution our residents and our children will be so much the poorer.

We salute you for standing up for your rights and ours.

For your livelihood and ours. For your community and ours.

Solidarity.

5888756327_7865f5e933_b

Message of Solidarity from Davy Hopper

” I want to send a message of solidarity and support to Barnet UNISON Library workers who are taking 3 days strike action next week in defence of service and jobs. I am proud to have marched with Barnet UNISON and your Save Barnet Libraries campaign on 12 September 2015. I was impressed with how the union and the community were working together to defend their local services. Good luck with your strike and your campaign.”

 Davy Hopper, General Secretary , Durham Miners’Association

Message of Solidarity from Barnet Green Party

‘We at Barnet Green Party are writing to express our solidarity with the three day strike action being taken by your library workers. Barnet Council’s proposed cuts to posts, staffing hours, library space and other resources is completely unacceptable. It demonstrates an absence of imagination in modernising libraries to adapt to the electronic-era. We believe that the shrinking, selling and cutting staffing at libraries is the action of a heartless undemocratic council. The selling off of public goods which are treasured by Barnet’s residents and of which they are custodians with no mandate to dispose of is quite simply scandalous and we shall continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in resisting the cuts to library services as we have sadly had to do for years.’

Dan Ozarow

Trade Union Liaison Officer, Barnet Green Party

1 11 12 13 14