Cumbria Crack

Sellafield workers to strike tomorrow in dispute over pay


[G]MB, the union for nuclear members, has confirmed that its 3,000 members working at Sellafield Limited, in Cumbria, will go on strike tomorrow.

The 24-hour industrial action begins at 6.01am on Wednesday September 27and ends at 5.59am on Thursday 28 September 2017.

Picketing will take place at the site’s North Gate, Main Gate and Calder Gate from the start of strike and throughout Wednesday. [1 note to editors about photo opportunities and interviews].

The result of the ballot was announced on September 4 with 76% voting to take strike action after the company imposed a below-inflation pay offer of just 1.5%.

RPI inflation is currently 3.9%.

Unite the Union is also balloting its 2,000 members with the result due on Monday.

Last year GMB members accepted a 0.25% pay rise in order to stop management cutting the pay of apprentices at the site.

Pay over recent years has failed to keep up with inflation and from next year the majority of Sellafield workers will have to pay more towards their pensions.

Talks with Sellafield Management have taken place over the course of the last week but no improved offer has been tabled.

GMB has given the company an assurance that minimum safety manning levels will be maintained throughout the strike and emergency arrangements in place so that the workforce and community are safe.

Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser said: “It is a crying shame that we have reached this position and there is huge frustration at the management culture inside Sellafield.

“GMB members have not sought dispute and they do not want to strike but Sellafield Limited has created this.

“Macho management and an upstairs downstairs culture where the big bosses receive eye-watering bonuses whilst those on the shop floor have accepted – under sufferance – previous below inflation pay rises, seen worse terms and conditions for new starters imposed at vastly reduced rates of pay and from next year increased contributions for works pension.

“Sellafield imposed a below inflation 1.5% rise for 2017/18, causing the dispute, because – by their own admission – they think that only staff grades matter.

“A cultural overhaul in the management of Sellafield is urgently needed, without which the growth, jobs and new build in West Cumbria will remain elusive.

“A social contract was laid out in the 1940’s in West Cumbria, which successive generations have bought into.

“The workforce at Sellafield sense this contract is under attack and the dispute over pay is a symptom of a much wider problem.

“GMB members should not have to pay the price for the masters and servants culture, or the shortfall in vision for Sellafield.  With a change of tack, Sellafield Ltd has a golden opportunity to take the workforce with it and set out a positive vision for the future.

“GMB members just want a fair pay rise, an end to the upstairs downstairs culture and a leadership that can deliver vision, growth and jobs for Sellafield and the surrounding areas.

“The NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) needs to talk some sense into the Sellafield’s top brass, get this dispute sorted and deliver a vision that the workforce, their families and the wider community can buy into.”

A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “We believe a no-strings-attached 1.5% pay increase is fair and reasonable.

“This is based on company affordability. We have been consistent throughout discussions with the trades unions.

“Prospect – which has collective bargaining rights for more than half our workforce – has accepted the offer.

“Our priority will be to ensure the site remains safe and secure. We are grateful to the GMB for agreeing to provide safety cover during the strike.”

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