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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 18:59 GMT 19:59 UK
British Library staff strike over pay
British Library
The library moved into its 511m headquarters in 1997
Workers at the British Library in London are to hold a 24-hour pay strike on Monday.

Nearly 1,000 employees at the library's reading rooms may join the walkout after the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union rejected a pay offer.

The union claims a 4% rise is not acceptable for the library's lowest paid workers in London, who are on between 12,000 and 15,000.

But the library says lowest paid staff will receive a 5.6% rise and the 4% rise is just the average across all library staff.

Services disrupted

Services at various reading rooms may be disrupted and some may have to close if all the PCS members join a walkout on 29 July.

Library assistants who are members of the PCS will strike for a further two days on 30 and 31 July.

The union's national officer, Terry Adams, said: "This pay increase is an insult to our members and the valuable work that they do."

"Our members safeguard and provide reader access to the nation's priceless treasures including newspaper, maps and first edition books.

"These services have been built around the dedication and experience of staff who have for too long been undervalued and underpaid."


The vast majority of members of staff want to work

Greg Hayman, British Library
British Library spokesman Greg Hayman said management was disappointed by the strike action and hoped most staff members would turn up to work on Monday.

Until then it is not known how severely services will be disrupted.

Mr Hayman said: "It's very difficult to say because we don't know how many staff members will be out on strike.

Other unions

"Only one out of eight members of the library's staff voted to strike, out of 2,500 members and two out of three unions representing staff have agreed to accept our offer."

He added that the rise compared favourably with other offers made in the "cultural sector".

The reading rooms most likely to be affected are those at the St Pancras site and the Newspaper Library in Colindale.


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See also:

17 Jun 02 | Entertainment
14 Jun 01 | Science/Nature
16 May 00 | UK
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