The saga surrounding Bromley’s libraries has rumbled on this week after an MP threw her weight behind striking workers.

Members of Unite the union have been demonstrating outside the borough’s libraries over their treatment by Greenwich Leisure Limited.

Disgruntled workers are on indefinite strike over pay and vacant roles left by GLL, which manages libraries on behalf of the council.

Unite has launched a petition calling for Bromley Council to take the service back in house, and has so far been backed by several hundred people.

Unite spokesman Onay Kasab told the local democracy reporting service: “GLL have made clear that they want a new staffing model – and surprise, surprise, it is not an increase but a cut in staffing that they are planning.

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“Support from library users has been tremendous – with many now refusing to use the libraries in protest. But also because of the level of service being offered by GLL while the strike is on – asking untrained staff from leisure centres to work in libraries shows how little GLL know or care about libraries.

“Due to GLL not responding to our offer of talks, our campaign will continue to escalate.”

Lewisham West and Penge MP Ellie Reeves visited striking workers this week as she backed the union’s campaign.

She said: “Bromley’s library service is an invaluable asset to the community helping combat parental loneliness with lots of activities for parents and young children, providing internet access to those who do not have it, and helping to inspire a love of learning in many.

“But none of this is possible without the fantastic and committed staff that make up the libraries. Greenwich Leisure Ltd have gone back on commitments they made to Bromley Council which fly in the face of how valued staff members should be treated.

“This is an attack on our community and the overwhelming community support for industrial action confirms this.”

However, calls for the service to be taken back in house have been played down by the cabinet member in charge at Bromley Council, who dubbed the strikes as “unnecessary”.

Councillor Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal recreation and housing, told the LDR service: “The whole purpose of appointing GLL to manage Bromley’s libraries was and remains precisely to protect our much valued library service with our record of multi-million-pound investment evident to anyone looking into the detail of this, which compares very favourably to experiences elsewhere.

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“The libraries have remained open throughout this period and I am grateful to GLL for ensuring this has been the case.  The service provided by GLL in running our libraries has been excellent.

“The strike by Unite members is regrettable and unnecessary. At a time when we are trying to improve libraries it is a shame that the Union is determined to make life difficult for library users.”

GLL said the union’s figures “do not stack up”, but confirmed it is intending to reviewing its parity in comparison to other library services.

A spokesman said: “Our senior leadership team brings a wealth of professional knowledge and experience of running libraries successfully and are supporting frontline library staff in keeping all of Bromley’s libraries open this summer.

“Unite walked out of negotiations before the strike and we are pleased that they have agreed to come back to the table – not least for their members who are paying the price for this unnecessary industrial action.”

A total of 50 workers across 14 libraries are currently on indefinite strike, and their petition can be viewed here.