British Library on strike

Last night via it’s twitterfeed the British Library announced that, due to strike action as voted by its union members, it’s ‘Maps, Manuscripts and Asian & African Studies Reading Rooms’ will be closed and that other reading rooms may also be closed at short notice.

Unfortunately this is not the first time such radical action has been undertaken, with reading rooms closed back in 1999 and 2002. Closed reading rooms have the potential to have a great impact on the library’s users. It has been surprising to see that this tweet barely made a plonk in the social media ocean… why are people not talking about this issue? If industrial action does not get the attention of library lovers everywhere – what will?

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One thought on “British Library on strike

  1. With most users now being online, will closing the reading rooms, have much effect?

    The problem with strike action in a public service area, is that the bosses save money by it, by not having to pay wages, and they get to look good to their political paymasters by acting tough on their workers.

    The only way a public sector strike can work is to cost money to the organisation (government), rather than create a cost saving.
    The early syndicalists (for example the IWW -iww.org) recognised this and fought strikes, by staying at work, but working to rule or creating work or chaos, that would take further time to undo. Why don’t the BL staff stay at work but refuse to take any money, and give library services and copies for free, there are many options, withdrawal of labour is a loser strategy, not suited to librarians.

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