THE DISPUTE over pay and staff cuts affecting Greenwich’s 12 libraries has been settled in what the giant union Unite described as “a great victory for employee solidarity and for the preservation of an important public service”.
More than 80 senior library assistants and library assistants were taking strike action last Thursday, 30th October when they agreed to suspend their action after the new deal was hammered out.
Friday’s strike was suspended and Unite members worked normally.
The crux of the dispute was the behaviour of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), the social enterprise company, awarded the contract in 2012 by Greenwich council to run the borough’s library service.
GLL had presided over staff cutbacks and had said that it would not replicate pay awards given to local government workers.
The settlement, which is subject to further talks, has three elements:
* Unite estimated that 13.5 full-time equivalent library posts (FTE) were needed. GLL has now offered 12.5 FTE jobs. The union estimates that this equates to 17 new staff.
* GLL said it will adhere to whatever is agreed in the current local government pay round.
* GLL agreed that there would be no cuts to the borough’s library service, unless instructed by its client, Greenwich council.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Unite members in Greenwich have won an important victory in defence of libraries as a public service and by showing solidarity; they have made large gains on the staffing and pay issues.
“They have shown that the bosses can be taken on and be forced to back down, if you are well-organised and determined enough. I congratulate every one of our members who won this victory.”