[Forum] Striking librarians should find another job

Picket line at Bradley Stoke Library.

I took my daughter to Bradley Stoke Library today (Saturday 9th November) and it was closed – the staff were sat outside on strike.

My daughter needed a book for her homework. What kind of message are we sending out to our youth? If the employees of the library are unhappy, why don’t they exercise their rights to vote with their feet and find another job, letting people who are prepared to work open the library?

I’m afraid that they have no sympathy from me. In this day and age we all have to work harder and longer for less money. Is it fair? No, but it’s a sign of the times. They are there to provide a service to the public, and let us down badly today.

On a positive note, we then drove to Patchway Library, which was OPEN, it had a vibrant atmosphere, full of children, families and the very helpful staff came to our aid. Thank you Patchway Library.


Photo: Archive image of industrial action on 28th September 2013.

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  1. Julie,
    these people are just exercising their hard won DEMOCRATIC right to temporarily withdraw their labour in protest at the 10% paycut imposed upon them.

    If you don’t like it you should have arranged your visit to the library when they were open, this strike has been well advertised so if you paid some attention to local affairs you would have know it was happening, it wasn’t a wildcat last minute thing.

    If everyone who was unhappy with some element of their employment was denied the RIGHT to strike but had to leave their job we would be in a very poor (fascist) state. If you or any member of your family do have a job, can you HONESTLY say that there is nothing you would wish to improve in your pay or conditions if you had the ability to do so!

    Support our low paid local council employees, don’t denigrate them just because they caused you a few extra miles journey on a Saturday!


  2. Things are not always as straight-cut as that though Julie.

    I, for one, don’t blame the staff for trying to protect their entitlements. Yes, we are all feeling the pinch, but they are being asked to take a pay cut! Not just a pay freeze or a tiny increase.

    To suggest to them that they leave their job at the library to find another in this day and age, is a joke anyway, as there are too few “proper” jobs around. It’s a pity you were inconvenienced today, and I’m pleased you were able to get your child’s book from another library.

    I’m not sure they will succeed, but I’m not going to complain about them closing on a Saturday to protest.

  3. I agree with Tony and Jenny – at least the librarians at BS library are doing something! Apposed to many who in the same situation, would moan and complain amongst themselves but don’t have the guts to follow its through!

  4. What a selfish narrow minded comment. People have a legal right to strike and is generally as a very last resort when negotiations between unions and employers have broken down and employees feel their T&C’s or jobs under threat. People have fought over the years to get decent working conditions and we take for granted things like paid annual leave, sick leave etc.

  5. Ignorant, narrow minded and incrediblly selfish comments such as this make me so angry. Why shouldnt public sector workers receive a decent wage for the important work that they do for our community. These people have families to feed and mortgages to pay for and to expect them to take such a large pay cut without complaining is incredible! !! Im sure they are very sorry that they couldn’t help you and you had to go all the way to patchway! But unless they receive funding for services such as this, we will soon be in a position where we don’t have these facilities at all!

  6. Rich company owners and politicians love people like Julie. Willing to accept any conditions that are forced on them. Why would they pay any of us anything if we all bent over and took it? The message we are sending to our youth is that if you try screwing your employees they might just stand up and distrupt your business.

    How many bankers or politicians have taken a 10% pay cut? The opposite is true.

    When the government cuts your giro let’s see how you like that!

  7. I can’t believe what I just read. What a horrid woman you appear to be! Our politicians are going to vote themselves a huge 11% increase and you are expecting these poor people to roll over and accept a 10% cut! I know which of the two you SHOULD be moaning about…
    Oh and Patchway? It’s hardly having to travel to Scotland and back is it…?

  8. I agree with Julie…….NOT! Julie, if your pea sized brain is unable to comprehend how having wage cuts can effect some families lives for the worse then perhaps your offspring wouldn’t benefit from reading a book anyway.

  9. It’s so sad that so often people use the line “I’ve got it bad so everybody else should have it bad too”. OK I’m paraphrasing Julie but that’s basically what she’s saying. If people won’t stand up for each other then of course the big bosses will be able to bully us all into taking pay cuts or accepting worse terms. Time for some solidarity methinks!

  10. If Julie really want to put the library to good use for her offspring, try borrowing The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell which deals with the working classes situation in the early 20th century when workers had no rights at all!

  11. Totally agree with Julie. Not happy with your job or terms? Find another job. Can’t find one? Create one – with your own business.

    Some people moan and make noise – and strike. Others take real action and just change jobs. Unfortunately public sector workers don’t seem to get that – at all.

  12. I fully support the library staff! They have always been very helpful to myself and my children! I have seen them deal with some difficult situations politely and efficiently, in fact they are more than happy to help if you request. Well done to them for not taking a pay cut lying down! In todays economic circumstances can they afford to? But more to the point, should they have to? I think not and if everybody just agrees to accept paycuts…..then welcome to a world of £4 per hour if you’re lucky!

  13. We all understand times are tough and I too dislike politicians being able to vote large pay rises while asking the rest of us to swallow cuts or freezes BUT . . .

    . . . don’t forget though, when public sector staff strike, ultimately it costs the council/government more to catch up with the work in the long run, which then ultimately impacts on the council taxpayer/taxpayer. In a business, it becomes harder to recoup costs, or win back business. So this lady – and my OH, who saw striking library staff at another local library – will not be using those libraries again or are less likely to visit those branches. We didn’t know about it either. That’s a loss of goodwill, which means less footfall, translating into lower library usage, which means that that branch library and its staff place their jobs and branch more at risk.

    So in fact, by withdrawing their labour, they end up costing the council more, so ultimately make the need to make savings more urgent, so increase the likelihood of the very threat they are striking about.

    If you have an issue about your job, escalate it to the people in charge, you have a democratic right to process without impacting on the customers you serve, not going on strike making yourself look dispensable. What about people whose books were due and they were taking them back that day – did they get a next day fine if they had to pop them through the letterbox but they weren’t processed until the next day? Renew online you say, but what’s the point if you’ve finished with them, and not everyone has access to the net anyway.

  14. Pidgewidge you have clearly not been to Bradley Stoke Library otherwise you would have noticed the bin outside the library in which to put books when the library is closed. As for escalating any problems to the people in charge, do you not think this has been done already??!! Why should library staff accept what in effect is a 10% pay cut. Even the supermarkets when changing pay and conditions start it from that date forward and don’t ask staff already employed to suffer. As previously stated, this was well advertised so if you took interest in local matters you would have known about it. If you truly believe that there is a loss of goodwill locally and people will no longer use the library then I am afraid you are deluded.

  15. Collecting bins and letterboxes are, of course, standard in libraries. Bradley Stoke and other local libraries have been regularly patronised by us: yes, we live locally, and we hadn’t heard of the strike until the day, so no, it wasn’t as well known as you and some others have claimed above.

    What I want to know about the bins is – I trust no-one had an overdue charge because of the librarians’ actions. You can still be fined for being “overdue” if the books are posted out of library hours – e.g. after close of play on the due date. They’re not to know you posted them on that day and not in the wee small hours of the following day. In the same way, they wouldn’t know that the books had been posted in the normal opening hours of Saturday and not after hours, would they?

    Thus, if the library is closed on Saturday and someone posted books there, instead of having them checked back in, as they had every right to expect, and they were not processed until Sunday, they would then be a day overdue, through no fault of the borrowers’ own. I can’t see the council waiving overdue charges when the closures were not of their making.

    Loss of goodwill locally – well, Julie, my husband and I – that’s three of us, for starters! Our council tax pays to keep these libraries open, but the staff chose to strike, and of course that had an impact on our response to the council budget consultation questionnaire we were sent. Local democracy in action does mean that we, the council taxpayers, are entitled to comment as we see fit, in the same way as you are entitled to comment as you see fit.

  16. I am afraid you are wrong again Pidgewidge. If you placed items in the bin when the library was closed on the Saturday you would not have been given overdue charges as it would be deemed that you had placed them there on the Friday. That is the same for every day. Gladly I went to Bradley Stoke library today and it was as busy as ever. If you are going to boycott the library because the staff used their democratic right to strike instead of rolling over and giving into a 10% pay cut then that is up to you. Thankfully, the people today do not share your view. Council staff have had a pay freeze for years and this year a 1% increase so to now ask them to take a 10% pay cut is disgraceful. How many people would be prepared to do that???