I fully support the staff of the National Library of Wales. Through regular contact with the trade unions, I’m very aware of the situation regarding pay at the Library. Too many workers earn less than the Living Wage, and it’s unacceptable that overall staff pay has reduced by 20% in real terms over the past five years. It’s obvious that the root cause is the agenda of cuts and austerity that’s coming from the Coalition Government in Westminster, but responsibility also rests with the Welsh Government to secure a fairer distribution of the Welsh budget.
The staff of the Library wouldn’t take such a drastic step as striking without feeling very strongly about this injustice. The extraordinarily high percentages in favour of industrial action in the three unions’ ballots is a powerful demonstration of the staff’s feelings.
The staff’s loyalty and commitment to the Library and to their profession has been a source of great pride for me over the years. This situation needs to be restored. The Library’s management now needs to work with the Unions and the Welsh Government to demand a fairer settlement for workers at the National Library. I stand ready to work with everyone to secure this result.