Members of Unite employed by troubled outsourcer Mitie, on the Sellafield contract, are experiencing victimisation as a result of undertaking legal industrial action. The shocking revelations coincide with Unite announcing a further escalation in the dispute.
The 180 workers employed on Sellafield’s ‘soft services’ contract, which include catering, cleaning, security, laundry and environmental roles, are currently in their third period of strike action, over low pay. The workers are paid just £8.21 an a hour.
When the workers returned from taking lawful industrial action earlier this month, Mitie subjected them to an ‘audit’ to check if standards were being achieved. Workers whose facilities fell below the required standard were placed on a performance improvement plan.
Unite believes this amounts to victimisation for undertaking trade union activities as standards are unlikely to have been achieved due to the previous industrial action.
The victimisation of workers taking industrial action follows the previous revelation that Mitie deliberately sabotaged an anti-bullying initiative aimed at all workers at Sellafield and not just its employees.
Meanwhile, Unite has escalated the industrial action announcing a further 14 days of strikes from 6pm on Sunday, June 2 until 6am on Monday, June 17. The workers are currently undertaking 10 days of strike action which will end on Wednesday, May 29. By the end of May the workers will have taken 26 days of strike action.
“Mitie’s Sellafield management has reached a new low by victimising workers taking lawful industrial action,” said Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong.
“Unite is currently investigating if there are legal grounds to take action against Mitie on behalf of our members,” he went on to say.
“It is simply incredible that Mitie is more interested in victimising workers, than entering into negotiations with the principal union on the contract to find a solution to the dispute.
“The strike action is having an enormous effect on operations at Sellafield and Mitie must fear for the future of its contract.
“Unite’s door is always open and we will meet with Mitie at any time if the company is prepared to enter into honest negotiations to end poverty pay at Sellafield.”