Cumbria Crack

3,000 Sellafield workers to strike on Wednesday, 27th September


[G]MB, the union for nuclear workers, has announced its 3,000 members at the Sellafield site in Cumbria will walk out on 27th September.

Members voted overwhelmingly for industrial action by a ratio of more than three to one in a ballot which closed earlier this month.

GMB’s Sellafield Strike Committee met on Monday, September 11 to decide how to respond to the emphatic yes vote.

The 24-hour strike will take place from 06:01am on Wednesday September 27 and finish at 05:59am on Thursday September 28.

The strike comes after the company ignored repeated requests for further talks and instead imposed a below-inflation pay offer of just 1.5%.

The RPI inflation rate announced today is 3.9%.

Last year, in order to stop Sellafield management from cutting the pay of apprentices, Sellafield workers accepted just 0.25% extra pay against annual RPI inflation for 2016 of 1.8%.

As part of government led changes to the pensions of nuclear workers, two thirds of Sellafield workers will also have to pay an extra 2 to 6% on their pensions contributions from next year.

Sellafield Ltd had previously offered a pay rise of 1.5% in June 2017 which was rejected by 88% of GMB members on site during a consultative ballot.

GMB has sought further talks with the company in an attempt to avert the strikes, which to date have been ignored by Sellafield Limited management.

Chris Jukes GMB Senior Organiser said: “Despite repeated requests by ourselves to try and get Sellafield Management to come to the table to talk, it is clear that Sellafield seem intent on being intransigent and petulant as usual in their attitude to dispute resolution.

“To keep within the law in the meantime, we have to serve notice of action this month.

“This is a dispute made by management.

“No one likes to take strike action but GMB members have been given a pay cut, on top of a 0.25% increase last year and their pay has failed to keep up with rising prices.

“Like everyone else, GMB members have bills to pay.

“Meanwhile those at the top seem more interested in their big performance bonuses, as the gulf between them and those working on the shop floor at Sellafield gets ever wider.

“Clearly GMB members have signalled that they have had enough.”

A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “We believe that a no-strings attached 1.5% pay increase is fair and reasonable. We made that offer based on company affordability and have been consistent throughout discussions with Unite, Prospect and GMB, who represent different sections of our workforce. Prospect, which has collective bargaining rights for more than half of our workforce, has accepted the offer.

“Our focus, as always, will be to ensure the site remains safe and secure at all times, including during any action which may take place.”

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