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Westminster librarians announce new strike action over pay

By Peter McNamara

Westminster City council librarians have announced new strike days after turning down a pay offer.

The librarians will strike on the September 6, 8, 13 and 15, with the full backing of their union Unite.

The workers turned down a national pay offer of £1,925 which is below the rate of inflation, and the industrial action is expected to disrupt services across the borough.

The union added that councils can pay a higher rate to workers if they wish to do so without adhering to government rules.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members provide critical frontline council services.

“Despite the essential roles our members undertake their employer thinks it is acceptable to propose what amounts to yet another real terms pay cut, at a time when they increasingly can’t make ends meet.

“Unite never takes a backward step in supporting its members and is dedicated to enhancing their jobs, pay and conditions. Unite will be providing members across Westminster’s libraries with its complete support.”

The announcement of the strike comes after the results of a survey carried out by Unite on its members showed that six per cent had used food banks, nearly half had struggled to pay their bills, and a quarter were skipping meals to save money.

The move is part of a larger movement towards industrial action within Unite with 23 local authorities attached to Union having voted for industrial action.

In response to a request for comment on the announcement, a Westminster City council spokesperson said: “Some of our library services will be temporarily reduced and some libraries may close earlier than usual due to nationwide industrial action by Unite.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask library service users to visit the website www.westminster.gov.uk/libraries for updates.”

(Picture: Pexels)

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