Staff in Bristol City Council’s 27 libraries will go on strike this Thursday (28 April 2016) as a dispute over shift patterns comes to a head.
Almost 100 library assistants who are members of UNISON, will be striking in an attempt to get management to reform their new shift patterns. The schedules, rolled out at the start of April, have seen library assistants assigned small numbers of hours spread across a six-day week.
Council bosses and union representatives from UNISON have met three times since February when the dispute was lodged, but managers have refused to give any ground. A ballot which concluded at the start of April showed strong support for the strike with almost 80% of votes cast in favour.
UNISON members will be picketing at libraries across the city. At 12:30 a “solidarity picnic” will be held on College Green. Members of the public are encouraged to join and show their support.
UNISON rep and Library Assistant Dawn Dyer said:
“Library assistants are committed to their jobs and we want to see a good library service, but we are all being pushed to the limit by these schedules. Increasing numbers of staff are leaving the service. The council needs to change the shift patterns now.
“These shifts make balancing work with family responsibilities a nightmare. Travel costs are going up too as Library Assistants have to make more trips for shorter shifts. Many of my colleagues work two jobs to make ends meet, but with these new shifts they can’t make the times match up.
“It was a hard decision for us to go on strike, but I don’t think anything else will get the council to listen.”