Keep proper journalism alive. It's time to Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Library workers get militant


It wasn’t just the doctors striking this week. Libraries closed across the city yesterday as library assistants went on strike.

Words and photo: Yasmin Aston-Patel

Library assistants, supported by Unison, were on strike yesterday in Bristol to protest against working hour changes that were part of the library service’s restructuring.

Outside libraries across the city and then at Central Library,  library assistants stood at the picket lines armed with chocolate and helpful flyers to let passers-by and library visitors know why they forced closure for the day.

Senior management at the council began imposing the new structure from April 2016, where staff are made to work longer sessional hours throughout the week, including weekends and evenings leaving single parents and others pushed to accept redundancy. Many staff feel the environment was already ‘hostile’ before the wave of redundancies began, leading to many staff resigning.

The new working arrangements disadvantages staff who have alternative family arrangements and other commitments preventing them from being able to fulfil the requirements of the role they originally applied for. Staff who work as little as 20 hours are, in some cases, obligated to work five days a week contributing to higher transport costs to get to and from work.

One striker said that the strike took place after negotiation with management did not work:  “We would like nothing more than to sit and have a fair discussion about this but this has never been possible.”

Members of staff have been kept anonymous.

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

Service cuts, redundancies and rising caseloads: St. Mungo’s staff vote for indefinite strike action

Unite members from St.Mungo’s vote to escalate their month-long strike to indefinitely, after charity refuses to meet pay demands

How can workers turn strikes into wins?

As the cost of living crisis bites, recent months have seen the return of mass strikes. While the cards are stacked against workers, they have won important victories – how have these been achieved, and how can we build on them?

‘The way the NHS is managed is breaking workers’. Bristol nurses take historic strike action

Meet two critical care nurses from the picket line at the BRI in historic NHS strike action.

‘Academic and support staff are suffering – it’s time for universities to dip into their rainy day funds’

University of Bristol staff deserve a pay rise after years of real-terms cuts, so why won’t it lift salaries? Recent growth is unsustainable, and investing in pay could help not just workers but local businesses and the city.

As nurses vote for historic industrial action, is Bristol facing a winter of strikes? 

Nurses have voted for a national strike over pay for the first time ever, joining Bristol workers across multiple industries pushing for better pay and conditions as the UK goes from the cost of living crisis into recession.

Listen: Why Reach PLC’s Bristol Live journalists are striking, with National Union of Journalists’ Paul Breeden

A thousand journalists are taking strike action across the country at Reach PLC, one of the big three conglomerates that dominate the regional news market and who own Bristol Live.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning