Fight Hackney Council victimisation — defend library services

Labour-run Hackney Council is executing cuts; among them, six library workers are being made redundant. One is Hackney Unison branch chair and Socialist Party member Brian Debus.

Socialist Party members will support Hackney Unison’s lobby of the full council meeting on 17 May, 6-7pm. Join us outside Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, London, E8 1EA.

Below we publish an edited extract of Hackney Unison’s leaflet.

Hackney Council’s ‘restructure’ of libraries — slashing staffing in an already struggling service — has become a cover for management to victimise trade unionists and force unnecessary redundancies.

Brian Debus speaking at a Hackney Unison libaries picket line.
Photo: Hackney SP

Unison branch chair Brian Debus, plus five other library workers, are being made compulsorily redundant — despite there being more than enough posts for everyone.

It is our view that these members of staff have been targeted as not fitting in with management’s views on the restructured service.

There are now more jobs available at ‘Scale six’ than have been filled by existing staff! The list of vacancies includes five full-time and 29 part-time (18-36 hours), making a total of 19.5 full-time equivalent posts currently being advertised externally. And still the union branch chair and five other workers are to be forced out!

The council will spend almost £1 million on redundancy payments and recruiting new staff, and all for what?

A clear-out of the experienced staff, to be replaced with new staff with a lot less knowledge and experience. Of 99 people employed at the beginning of the process, the council has lost nearly 70% of staff, either through voluntary or compulsory redundancy, or alternative employment.

The service is now reliant on staff on casual, zero-hour contracts, paid at a much lower rate, to keep the library doors open. We fear that library services are being set up to fail — as seen in flagging staff morale and declining well-being, including low confidence in matters of personal safety — which may well result in future cuts on the grounds of a failure to deliver services properly.

Join us on the lobby and let Hackney Council know that we will not let our members be victimised on the altar of cuts to services.