Printed Date: 29/02/2024

UNITE pursue unnecessary dispute with GLL

Earlier this year GLL implemented a timely and competitive pay award reflecting our status as a Real Living Wage accredited employer and recognising the pressures on our staff of the cost of living. Formal talks took place with UNITE where they are recognised in our business. They did not accept the offer but we took the decision to press ahead and pay the award to our staff. Subsequently they have raised a dispute about the award, and several other issues, and balloted their members who work in Bromley and Greenwich only.  Our offer to resolve their dispute has been rejected and UNITE have issued a statement to the press and on social media.  Below is a copy of a statement we have issued in respect of UNITE’s comments. This provides some further detail and information.  We hope UNITE will reconsider our offer to resolve their dispute and we will update further in due course.


GLL’s Statement

'We are surprised and disappointed by UNITE’s decision to continue their unnecessary dispute. We have an 11,000 strong workforce in GLL, and UNITE have a very small membership across the company which represents about 2% of our total staff and most of those members work in our libraries in Bromley and Greenwich. As a result, UNITE’s dispute does not reflect the views of our wider workforce. Only 31 library staff in Bromley voted for industrial action and a mandate for industrial action was not achieved amongst library staff in Greenwich, which was balloted at the same time.

As a staff owned co-operative, we are committed to providing excellent working conditions to all our staff. In April 2023 we made a pay award of 5 to 12% with the higher awards going to our colleagues at the lower end of our pay scales. Our pay award was communicated well and received positively by our people. We are proud to be a Real Living Wage employer and are one of only 13,000 organisations in the UK to sign up to the Real Living Wage which provides the road map for future annual pay awards. However, we are happy to continue dialogue with UNITE and to consider a submission from them to inform our 2024 pay award.

“UNITE continues to spread information about GLL’s employment terms and conditions that is both disingenuous and untrue. GLL is not, as is claimed, a ‘zero hours’ employer. All staff on flexible contracts have the option to take up a permanent contract through our ‘You Choose’ initiative. People can make a choice about how they work with us to suit their career needs, opting for either the stability and security of permanent contracts or the flexibility and control of deciding when and how they work with us.

“UNITE claims that GLL will not ‘negotiate with a trade union’. This is not the case; we are happy to continue a positive dialogue and to find common ground that will enable strike action to be averted, to the benefit of library staff and members of the local community who rely on library services.”