Bosses at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant have been urged to remove ‘the roadblock’ to a pay deal, as Unite workers prepare to go on strike for a second time on November 22.
Unite, which represents more than 1,100 craft workers at the Cumbria plant, has consistently claimed that government ministers are pulling the strings behind the scenes and hampering the Sellafield management from reaching a pay settlement
The dispute centres on the ‘completely unacceptable’ 1.5 per cent pay offer imposed by Sellafield Ltd – a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) company – in September, backdated to April 1 this year.
The workers have already held a 24-hour strike on November 7 and now another strike has been called running from 6.45am on November 22 to 6am on November 23, depending on which shift the workers are on.
Unite regional officer Graham Williams said, “The strike on November 7 was well-supported by our maintenance and electrician members, with a positive groundswell of sympathy from workers in other unions and the general public.
“I would like to pay tribute to our shop stewards for the way they mobilised support on the day.
“Another strike is planned for November 22, with more industrial action on the cards in the run-up to Christmas.
“Unite has consistently stated that a pay deal is being obstructed by the invisible hand of ministers,” he added. “The Sellafield management needs to assert themselves and remove this roadblock to a pay deal.
“Our members are highly skilled professionals who have greatly contributed to making large savings at Sellafield and they have been repaid by a derisory pay offer lagging way behind the rising level of inflation.
“We would urge the management to get around the table for constructive negotiations, before industrial action is ramped up even further.”
Unite said that it would continue to maintain a skeleton staff during the forthcoming strike to reassure the people of Cumbria on health and safety issues.
The strike follows a ballot of its craft members which saw 90 per cent vote for strikes.