Library workers in Bromley are striking this week in protest of “the council’s unwanted intentions to sell off” library services.
Bromley UNITE library workers say they want to stop the boroughs 14 libraries being privatised and have started a petition.
Local campaigning has seen construction firm Carillion and a scheme run by volunteers withdraw from the bidding process, leaving only one private bidder UNITE believe to be Greenwich Leisure Limited however this has not been confirmed by the council.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We have notched up a couple of victories with the withdrawal of Carillion and the voluntary scheme, but the battle is not over by a long chalk.
“The council refuses to say who is the remaining bidder, but we understand that it is Greenwich Leisure Limited.
“This lack of transparency demonstrated by the Tory-controlled authority is an affront to local democracy.
“The council says that it will be making a decision on the library service’s future sometime in May. Unite’s firm view is that libraries are for the benefit of the public and should not be considered as a ripe source of profit for the private sector.”
There are 14 libraries in the borough with three closed due to strike action.
Councillor Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation said any changes to services are designed to protect libraries.
He said: “Nothing is being sold here and the council will still retain full control.
“What we have done is tender the library service to see if another organisation could manage the service.
“Our proposals are designed to protect the library service, with crucially our specification meaning that a new provider would need to operate the existing service with no library closures.
“I am mindful of our staff at this time and I would like to pay tribute to our library staff for their professional dedication to serving residents.”
Councillor Morgan added, “Out of the 14 libraries, only 3 are currently closed due to strike action and residents can see this information on our website.”
The strike started on Saturday, April 1 and will last for a week.
Central Library, Petts Wood and Southborough Libraries will be closed.