Threat of museum strike at Bradford

Union to ballot members over planned cuts, reports Patrick Kelly.

Museums and library staff in Bradford are threatening strike action over service cuts.

More than 50 members of staff in the Unite union are being balloted on plans for full-scale industrial action.

The move follows Bradford Council’s decision to cut £1.05 million from its library budgets and a £500,000 cut to the museums service in 2020-21 –  a cut of 65%.

Union leaders have reacted angrily to the proposals, accusing the council of seeing libraries and museums as "soft targets" and attacking “low paid, mostly female workers”.

Plans were also unveiled to turn Keighley Library into a "community hub" as part of a district-wide shake-up.

Mark Martin, Unite regional officer, said, “We are calling on the council to urgently reconsider this rolling programme of swingeing cuts that undermines Bradford’s libraries and museums – an integral part of the district’s social and educational fabric.”

He added: “While we appreciate the local authorities have suffered brutal spending cutbacks since the Tories took power in 2010, this council has failed to undertake meaningful consultations with Unite."

The consultative ballot will close on August 12.

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “Due to the unprecedented government funding reductions, all council services are under pressure and that’s the case across the country. Bradford Council’s net budget in 2020 will be around half what it was in 2010 in real terms. But we will always consult fully and widely on any proposals to change services, including with members of the public, staff and trade unions.”

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