3,000 nuclear workers go out on strike


Some 3,000 workers at the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria went on strike from 6.01am today (Wednesday, September 27).

The staff, all members of the GMB union will be out until 5.5am tomorrow.

Picketing was due to take place at the site’s North Gate, Main Gate and Calder Gate and throughout today.

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

RPI inflation is currently 3.9%. The Unite union is also balloting its 2,000 members with the result due on Monday (October 2).

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

The union says 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.”

A statement from the Sellafield management 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.”

Join us at the 2022 Rainmaker Awards