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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 17:07 GMT
Heritage staff vote to strike
English Heritage cares for Britain's ancient sites
Staff who care for some of England's best-known tourist attractions have voted to strike over pay.

Employees of English Heritage, which is responsible for sites including Stonehenge and Hadrian's Wall, are to stop work for a day on 11 March.

They are protesting over the imposition of an average 3.5% pay rise.

Some properties are expected to be closed on the day of the strike - with the possibility of further shutdowns over the Easter holiday.

English Heritage sites
Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Osbourne House, Isle of Wight
Dover Castle, Kent
Kenwood House and Art Gallery, London
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire
Battle Abbey, Sussex
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Beeston Castle, Cheshire
Clifford Tower, York
Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland
But Katherine Burn, of the union Prospect, said: "It will also affect work on planning applications, and a whole range of other work.

"It's not just front-of-house staff who are involved, it's listed-building planners, architects, surveyors, conservators, people who run the blue plaque scheme, and so on."

A union spokesman told BBC News Online that modest offers were accepted in previous years in the expectation of a better package this year.

Prospect balloted about 500 members at English Heritage.

Nearly 73% responded: 89.6% voted for industrial action, and 76.3% said they would be willing to strike.

Two ballots

Professional staff such as architects, curators and engineers, belong to Prospect, while the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) looks after administrative and security staff.

Both have been holding ballots.

The PCS outcome is expected soon.

It is thought to be the first time a strike had been threatened at English Heritage.

English Heritage said a deal gave staff rises of between 3.2% and 4.3% and was all the organisation could afford in a "financially challenging" year.

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