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‘Sick and tired’

Construction workers take action short of strike for safer workplace
Alex Flynn, Friday, July 31st, 2015

Over 1,200 construction workers involved in the decommissioning and renewal project at Sellafield in Cumbria have begun a work to rule and overtime ban in a campaign to improve health and safety and productivity.

The Unite members began the action short of strike at 5.30 am this morning (July 31) following a continued refusal by Sellafield Ltd and the group of sub-contractor companies to facilitate a full-time union convenor on the site.

The construction workers, working for 15 sub-contractors, are pressing for the creation of a full-time convenor on the site to improve industrial relations and help address growing health and safety concerns as well as poor welfare facilities on the construction site.

Urging Sellafield Ltd and the sub-contractors to enter into meaningful talks, the union warned that a series of one day strikes delaying the project would move closer unless there were serious moves to address workers’ concerns.

The companies involved in the dispute are: Mitie One, Cape, Jacob Sobart, Meldrum, Hertel, Focus, Balfour Beatty, Shepley’s, PPS, Amec, Doosan Babcock, Novia, Redhall’s, Hargreaves, Kaefer CD.

“Our members are sick and tired of being treated like second class citizens on one of Europe’s biggest construction projects,” said Unite regional officer Steve Benson.

“They want to be able to work in a safe environment, with constructive industrial relations and decent welfare facilities,” he added. “Yet they are being met with continual resistance from sub-contractors and Sellafield Ltd to implement health and safety arrangements which are commonplace elsewhere in the industry.

“Sellafield is an important nuclear facility where health and safety and the welfare of workers should be paramount. Our experience shows that a full-time union convenor would help ensure a healthier, more productive and profitable workplace.

“We would urge Sellafield and the sub-contractors to start treating their workers as partners and enter meaningful talks.”

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