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Sellafield Bosses ‘Go Cold’ On Pay Deal, Says Unite Union

More than 1,100 Sellafield workers - who are part of the Unite union - are set to stage a 24-hour strike next week.

The union has announced that industrial action will take place next week due to a row over pay.

It said that the management had now ‘gone cold’ on talks after a round of ‘positive talks’ – and the union blamed ‘the unseen hand’ of government ministers for the intransigence.

Unite say the 24-hour strike is due start at 6am on Tuesday over the ‘completely unacceptable’ 1.5 per cent pay offer imposed by Sellafield Ltd - a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) company - in September, backdated to 1 April.

Unite said that it would be maintaining a skeleton staff during the strike to reassure the people of Cumbria on health and safety issues.

Graham Williams, Unite regional officer, said: “The Sellafield bosses appear to have adopted a new hardline attitude on the pay talks which we believe is being orchestrated by the unseen hands of government ministers who are pulling the strings behind the scenes.

“We had talks with management on 23 October which were very positive, but a week later the atmosphere had dramatically changed – it was as if the shutters had come down.

“Our members are highly trained and not prepared to accept such a derisory offer as the consumer prices index (CPI) inflation rose to 3.0 per cent in September. Inflation is eroding our members’ take-home pay.

“This has to be seen in the context that the Sellafield workforce has delivered over £230 million of savings in the last two years and is expected to make a further £300 million in savings this year.

“The strike will mean that no on-going maintenance work by our members will take place at Sellafield, but to reassure the Cumbrian public we will be maintaining a skeleton staff on site.

“Tuesday’s strike is a shot across the bows and more strikes are on the cards in the run-up to Christmas, if the management does not engage in constructive talks.”

The strike follows a ballot of its craft members which saw 90 per cent vote for strikes.

A Sellafield Ltd spokesperson said: "As always, the safety and security of the Sellafield site, our workforce and the community are our priorities during this industrial action.

"We are working with Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council’s Highways team to try to minimise disruption.

"However, strikes by their nature are designed to cause disruption and people should expect traffic problems while pickets are in place.

"We have taken all steps available to us to minimise disruption including opening all access gates and advising staff on steps they can take to help."

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