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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Staff at Sellafield to strike over pay

A two-day walkout by maintenance staff at Sellafield will go ahead next week if bosses do not meet pay demands.

Over 40 workers employed by Babcock’s to maintain radiation and contamination monitoring machines on site are taking industrial action.

The Unite union members began an overtime ban and work-to-rule on Monday. They say this will escalate into strike action next Tuesday and Wednesday unless the row is resolved.

The dispute was initially with former employer, VT Group. Staff were balloted for action in April after the firm issued a pay freeze.

It was taken over by Babcock’s in July, which came forward with a pay offer of 1.75 per cent. Unite members – who make up about a third of the total workforce – rejected the offer, which they say amounted to only a 1.5 per cent rise over the course of the year.

Unite regional officer Alan Westnedge said no further offer has been made.

He said: “I hope all the people employed on site at Sellafield will understand and support our members in their fight for fair pay.

“It’s reported that Babcock’s paid £1.3 billion for VT Group and expects to make £50 million of savings as a result of the merger. In the year ending March 31 last, Babcock Group reported a profit of £240 million pre-tax. This is not a company that can’t afford to pay, it doesn’t want to pay.”

Site operators Sellafield Ltd said yesterday that safety would not be affected by industrial action.

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