Barnet UNISON delegates had the chance this week to catch up with our old friend and long-time supporter Jeremy Corbyn.
Jeremy has long championed our fight against mass privatisation here in Barnet alongside Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
It was good to witness the overwhelming support for Jeremy as he addressed conference this year. Many of the things he stands for are what our members want to hear.
We want to hear a Labour Leader be unequivocal about supporting workers’ rights and migrants. He has been unequivocal in speaking out against racism. He is wholly opposed to the ideological obsession with privatisation and for the protection of the NHS, education, real jobs and housing workers can afford to live in.
Today the Prime Minister has issued his resignation and for the next four months the Conservative Party will be busy selecting a new leader.
Predictably, the media is already looking for Labour MPs who are calling for Jeremy to resign and this morning on the news a reference was made to a letter signed by over 50 MP’s asking Jeremy to consider his position.
Our Barnet Unison delegation want to send a message to Jeremy:
“You have given solidarity and support for our members, your message brings hope instead of the despair promoted by Austerity Fundamentalists. Barnet UNISON is fully behind you and asks any potential challengers to reconsider and instead let’s focus our energies by promoting a positive message of how Labour will deliver more housing, jobs, confront racism and deliver an end to austerity.”
Solidarity Message from County Durham Trades Union Council
To our brothers and sisters in Barnet UNISON –
We applaud and salute you in your courageous decision to take strike action against Barnet Council’s appalling decision to cut and out source library services across the Borough, whilst also sacking paid workers and replacing them with unpaid voluntary community groups. This is another disgusting austerity attack on hard working people, which must be resisted.
We stand with you in your fight and you have our full support in the action you are taking to protect such vital and priceless community services. Solidarity to all your members – your fight is our fight – #UnitedWeStand.
Barnet UNISON Press Release: 6 June 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Three day strike called by Barnet Council Library workers
UNISON members working in Barnet Libraries are taking industrial action on the 13th, 14th and 15th of June 2016 in opposition to the Council’s plan to outsource the Library Service.
What the Council intends for Barnet Libraries
- Library posts will be cut by 46%, a loss of 52 full time equivalent posts
- Staffed hours will be reduced by 70% (despite overwhelming opposition to this from respondents to the Council’s Library consultations)
- Under 15 year olds unaccompanied by an adult will not be able to use libraries during unstaffed hours, which will be for most of the time libraries are open
- Library space to be reduced, thus cutting study space and book stock
- Four libraries to be run by “community groups”
- Phase 3 alternative delivery model to be identified for this section.
More detailed analysis of the destruction of the Library service can be found in our report entitled “Direct and Collateral Damage to the Future of Barnet Libraries” here
UNISON Picket Lines will be at the following Barnet Libraries:
- Monday 13th June – Mill Hill Library (Hartley Avenue, Mill Hill, London NW7 2HX) from 8.30 am
- Tuesday 14th June – North Finchley(Ravensdale Ave, North Finchley N12 9HP) from 8.30 am followed by a demonstration outside Barnet House 12-1 pm
- Wednesday 15th June – Chipping Barnet Library (3 Stapylton Road, Barnet, EN5 4QT) from 8.30 am
For those unfamiliar with the Barnet Libraries debacle please watch this short animation which details the plans for our fantastic Library Service.
Keith Martin for local government worker, resident and long standing Libraries campaigner wrote a response to the Local Times newspaper survey “Have your say over Barnet future Library service” http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/14528718.Have_your_say_over_Barnet___s_future_library_service/
Keith has given permission to share his response with our members in the Library Service.
“Would I volunteer?”
“Mrs Angry expresses my views succinctly in her Broken Barnet blog.
- Half the staff will be losing their livelihoods,
- You cannot replace professional library staff with volunteers,
- The proposals amount to the virtual destruction of the library service,
- Shrinking libraries, halving the book stock, the highly risky use of unstaffed DIY libraries. All are dangerous, stupid gambles.
- What next?
- Why not instead cut the massive allowances and perks received by councillors?
- Now the view from me. I have been a library volunteer at Friern Barnet Community Library for nearly four years now, initially at the invitation of Phoenix and the squatters who began their occupation on 5 September 2012. My experiences are recorded in my book Friern Barnet – the library that refused to close. I was a co-defendant with the squatters in the action by Barnet Council for their eviction in December 2012, and one of the original band of trustees appointed by the community to run the library in succession to the squatters.
Would I volunteer for Reuben Thompstone’s plans to reshape the library service; to harness Barnet’s community spirit?
Would I thus be a party to putting chartered librarians and other professional library staff on the dole, after they have attempted to train unskilled volunteers such as myself to replace them? Would I be a party to actions which have as their goal the closure of libraries and the wrecking of educational opportunities to schoolchildren which generations of library users have benefitted from as their birthright?
No, I would not.
This is why I am active in the campaign to save not only libraries in Barnet but throughout the United Kingdom.