Greenwich library workers set for another walkout next week

Library workers in Greenwich are to stage a further 24-hour strike over pay and working conditions, accusing their employer, GLL, of failing to negotiate a resolution to the dispute.

More than 60 workers across the borough will walk out on Tuesday as part of a long-running dispute over pay and the use of zero-hour contracts.

A spokesman from GLL said: “We do not offer zero hours contracts, as erroneously suggested by Unite.  We offer flexible working arrangements.

“Our staff can transfer from flexible contracts to permanent contracts via our You Choose scheme which is open to all.”

The strike means closures are likely at 12 facilities in the borough – at Abbey Wood, Blackheath, Charlton, Coldharbour, Greenwich Centre, Eltham Centre, New Eltham, Plumstead, Slade Centre, Thamesmere, West Greenwich and Woolwich.

GLL promotes itself as a London Living Wage (LLW) employer, but the Unite union says some employees receive below the LLW, and that GLL has also delayed implementation of a rise to the LLW by nearly six months.

As well as the strike, demonstrations will be taking place across the borough. Unite says it is seeking to draw attention to the presence of three Labour councillors who sit on the board of GLL.

Unite says that out of 10,800 staff, 6,313 are on zero hour contracts – meaning the majority cannot join the society or stand for the board.

But, a spokesman from GLL said the strike “does not reflect the opinion of the vast majority” of its colleagues and only a “small minority” are taking part in the strike.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “GLL is behaving appallingly, and our members won’t stand for it.

“There are an excess of injustices that come with zero hours contracts and a so-called social enterprise should be ashamed to use them.

“Our members are ready to fight for better pay and working conditions and Unite is right behind them.”

A spokesman for GLL said: “We remain disappointed and perplexed by Unite’s continued campaign against GLL, especially as we have made every effort to engage with the Union.

“We do not feel that Unite’s campaign reflects the genuine concerns of our people and we believe that it is manufactured to reflect their national and political agendas.

“All of our people benefited from at least a 5 per cent pay rise this April. Our commitment to staff and local communities in employment, career opportunities, fair pay, development and training is second to none.

“Our focus remains on ensuring that a quality library service continues to be delivered to communities in Greenwich and that will be the case on 30 April.”

Pictured top: Interior of West Greenwich Library, Greenwich High Road (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Libraries Taskforce)

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