More than 100 Bromley and Greenwich library workers to strike next week over pay

GLL workers are striking on March 26 at libraries across Bromley and Greenwich <i>(Image: Google Maps)</i>
GLL workers are striking on March 26 at libraries across Bromley and Greenwich (Image: Google Maps)

More than 100 library workers from Bromley and Greenwich are set to strike next week over pay.

Workers employed by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), are planning industrial action over complaints of low pay and poor working practices.

Unite, the UK’s leading union, announced its members will stage a walkout on Tuesday, March 26, demanding permanent jobs, immediate changes to unfair sick pay schemes, and new minimum pay rates for 2023 and 2024.

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

"There are severe 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 we are right behind them."

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GLL, previously hit by strikes in both boroughs, employs people on zero hours contracts, resulting in policies that do not align with local government conditions.

Unite says this leads to lower pay for outsourced workers in a "race to the bottom".

GLL defines itself as a staff-led organisation, however, only permanent employees get represented in thei decision making board.

Of GLL's 10,800 workforce, 6,313 are on zero-hour contracts, which means most workers cannot stand for the board.

Unite states that the social enterprise will not recognise trade unions and refuses to negotiate on pay.

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Unite's regional officer Mary Summers said: "We are taking action because staff are being treated like second class citizens when it comes to pay and conditions.

"As well as low pay and poor conditions, most workers are excluded from decision making by management at a staff-led organisation.

"Unite is standing with our members in tackling this shocking treatment.

"We have won before at GLL and we will win again."

A spokesperson for GLL libraries said: "We are again disappointed by UNITE’s decision to call for strike action.

"We have made every effort to engage with the union and listen to their views.

"However, it should be noted that the UNITE strike does not reflect the opinion of the vast majority of our colleagues; with UNITE membership across our organisation sitting at less than three per cent of the workforce."

They added: "A well-received pay award was made in 2023, which was underpinned by the Real Living Wage and we are proud to be one of only 14,000 organisations in the UK to be accredited as a Real Living Wage employer.

"The Real Living Wage for 2024 is set and we will implement this in April of this year.

"We do not offer zero hours contracts, as erroneously suggested by UNITE.

"We do offer flexible working arrangements and give staff the opportunity to transfer from flexible contracts to permanent contracts via our You Choose scheme, which is open to all.

"Planned changes to GLL’s sick pay scheme will be implemented as part of our 2024 pay award."

The spokesperson concluded: "Our focus remains on ensuring that a quality library service continues to be delivered to local communities in Bromley and Greenwich and that will be the case on March 26."