INDUSTRIAL action will continue today after a strike by staff crippled library services across Southampton.

A one-day walkout yesterday forced the closure of all but the city’s Central Library.

Union members working in the city’s nine libraries will from today refuse to co-operate with the recruitment and training of volunteers to replace librarians.

Further strikes are expected to follow next month.

Members of the Unison union, which make up the majority of the city’s 90 library staff, voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a postal ballot.

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They are protesting at the Conservative-run council’s plans to scrap funding for six librarians and replace them with volunteers.

Southampton Labour MPs John Denham and Alan Whitehead joined a lunch-time rally of around 150 people at the Central Library.

Protesters chanted under the offices of the council’s outgoing chief executive.

The council’s Unison branch secretary Mike Trucker said: “Lots of people signed our petition and wished us well. We have an overwhelming positive reaction from the public.”

Southampton City Council insists there will be no staff redundancies and it is bringing in volunteers as part of a modernisation of its libraries which has seen selfcheckout technology installed.

Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage said: “Our proposals do not mean that our staff will lose their jobs. By taking the action we are we have managed to avoid this happening, unlike other local authorities”.