WORKER was set against worker when volunteers kept Chester library open by crossing a picket line of striking librarians.

Last Saturday senior manager for culture and tourism Jason Doherty kept Chester library open until lunchtime with a team which included non-librarian volunteers.

Striking librarians took part in picket in a bid to persuade the volunteers not to cross but without success.

Ray McHale, assistant branch secretary of West Cheshire Unison, described the action of drafting in volunteers as ‘provocative’.

He said: “The Tory council seems to be interested in a short term victory by opening the library for half a day rather than maintaining staff relations.”

Council spokeswoman Laura Johnson said a minimal service was maintained at Chester library staffed by three librarians, two managers from the library and culture service, plus four staff from other departments.

Miss Johnson said the council had a duty to try and maintain the library service.

Go to to see a video of Saturday’s strike action.