MEMBERS of the Unite union working in Bradford’s libraries and museums have voted in favour of strike action in a consultative ballot.

It comes as they step up their fight to save the service from proposed budget cuts by Bradford Council.

The union is urging the Council to halt its process otherwise it will be left with “no alternative” but to move to a full industrial action ballot.

The museums and galleries budget for the current year is £1.8 million, but it’s planned to cut this by a further £500,000 in 2020/21.

Meanwhile, the libraries budget is currently £2,824,000, but in 2020/21 will be cut by £1.5 million.

Seventy eight per cent of Unite members voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot.


Mark Martin, Unite Regional Officer, said: “This result shows that, should we proceed to a full scale industrial action ballot, our members would vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. We don’t want it to get to that point and we want to hold meaningful talks with the Council as we seek to come to an agreement which our members will support.

“We want the Council to halt the process so that we have had the chance and fair opportunity to discuss the plans and represent our members properly.

“However, it is clear from media reports that the Council is moving ahead with plans for reducing the provision of museum and library services in the city. The ball is firmly in the Council’s court and we strongly reiterate our calls for them to halt their process, otherwise we will be left with no alternative but to move to a full industrial action ballot.”

Consultation documents have revealed the possible extent of the cuts and the impact they may have on Bolling Hall and the Bradford Industrial Museum.

It reveals how the Industrial Museum and Bolling Holl could be closed to the public for some months of the year, with reduced opening days.

Four back office jobs would be cut from the museum service, saving £168,000 per year, while front line staff would see changes to their rota. The report also reveals eight back office positions in the library service would be cut, saving £252,000 a year.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “We published a budget last year as we do every year and consulted on it in the proper way.

"Every department across the Council has had to face reductions in funding as a result of national government austerity. Any future budget will of course be fully consulted upon with staff and residents.”

“Unite have been invited to take part in discussions at every stage of the staff consultation and we have responded in full to their concerns.

"However, in the latter stages, Unite have chosen not to attend meetings or engage in an open dialogue with Council management. We hope that Unite will accept an invitation to sit down with us and enter into a dialogue. The offer to do so remains open to them, as it has been during this whole process.”