Heritage workforce votes on strike action

English Heritage staff decide this week whether to strike
over a 3.5 per cent pay award.

Staff members of Prospect, the union formed last November
after the merger of the IMA and the IPMS, and the Public and Commercial
Services union, are being balloted on the action.

Strike action could affect hundreds of popular tourist
attractions such as Stonehenge and Battle Abbey, as well as delay planning and
enquiries involving listed buildings.

Prospect says the ballot follows a series of low pay
settlements at English Heritage, and that EH pay has fallen "around 10 per
cent behind mainstream civil service employers over the last five years".

Members say a 3.3 per cent offer in 2000 was accepted on the
condition that there would be further increases.

Steve Jary, Prospect negotiating officer, said:
"English Heritage staff do not expect to be paid above market rate,"
but that staff are left with "a wholly inadequate pay offer".

By Quentin Reade

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