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From: The Socialist issue 1061, 23 October 2019: Boot out Boris and his bossesĀ’ deal. General election now!

Search site for keywords: Bradford - Workers - Cuts - Council - Libraries

Bradford: Workers walk out over council cuts

Bradford council Unite members striking against cuts, photo Iain Dalton

Bradford council Unite members striking against cuts, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

"If these cuts go through we won't be able to run these services," said Unite libraries shop steward Karen Raynor, on the £2 million cuts to Bradford council's libraries, museums and galleries.

The libraries service has faced year-on-year cuts as the council has aimed to replace trained staff with volunteers.

Karen told us that libraries have been shut for an unprecedented 203 hours, which would otherwise have been open, due to staffing shortages over the last six months.

Many staff are outraged that at the same time as making these cuts the council is spending £1.4 million on a bid to be the city of culture. As Karen said: "When I heard the news, I had to check it wasn't 1 April!"

Not only are workers in libraries and museums set to take 14 days of strike action over the next two months, but workers at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford are in dispute with their employer too.

Socialist Party members have been building support for the strike and demanding that the council temporarily use its reserves to keep services open as part of a campaign alongside the trade unions and the public to fight for the funding the city needs.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Local services keywords:

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Article dated 23 October 2019

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