THANK you for reporting the incident at Newton Park Library in Wednesday’s Herald (“Strikers disrupt quiz at library”). However, I wish to express my shock at the inferences and lack of information in the article that would encourage most readers to believe it was the Newton Park Library staff who disrupted the children’s Book Week programme in the building’s auditorium.
Firstly, let me make it very clear that the Newton Park Library staff members are not striking, because the strike is illegal. We are answering the phones to renew patron’s books and keep them updated on the situation.
Yes, our doors are closed to the public, but that is out of concern for the public’s safety. Newton Park Library is notorious for being stormed during strike action by municipal workers. We have put our members at risk in the past by opening during strikes and cannot afford to do so again.
We were open to the public for many days while the other libraries were closed during this year’s cycle of municipal strikes. We closed for the first time last week after we received telephonic threats of violence and have been closed since.
That was not enough to prevent the strikers from storming the building to disrupt the service we were providing for Book Week.
Secondly, I take strong exception to the term “striking library staff” used by The Herald. This is an illegal municipal strike comprising numerous (but not all) library staff, municipal administration workers and traffic officers.
The Herald also failed to mention that traffic officers arrived at the building in full uniform, in traffic vehicles, carrying their firearms. At this point we feared for our lives, so we managed to lock ourselves upstairs – we were surrounded and trapped.
Meanwhile, they were smashing our crockery downstairs, vandalising our locks, plugging our sinks and opening the taps, and ripping everything off the notice boards. After traumatising the children, they ate all the biscuits and tea that were set out for the function, then smashed the cups and plates (pictures attached).
We called the police. The police arrived a few minutes later to escort us out of the building and to our vehicles so we could escape.
I wish this information to be known, so that we can no longer be accused of being among the strikers and that we are closing for the public’s safety, not out of industrial action.
A staff member of the Newton Park Library