Mitie workers poised to begin industrial action on Friday at the Sellafield site have postponed the strike.

Members of Unite the Union who include security guards, cleaning, catering and vending staff, were due to strike over pay from Friday for 10 days, but have decided to put it off the start date until Wednesday in a bid to resolve the dispute.

Unite said it was "offering an olive branch" to Mitie.

A statement said: "It is a gesture of goodwill in order to allow meaningful negotiations to take place."

The dispute which also involves laundry and environmental operatives, is a result of Unite’s 180 members rejecting Mitie’s pay offer, with workers receiving just £8.45 an hour.

Unite’s members voted by 98 per cent in favour of strike action on a 70 per cent turnout.

A second 10 day strike beginning on Friday May 4 until Monday 13 May, remains scheduled to go ahead if there is no resolution to the dispute, the union said.

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “If Mitie is serious about resolving this dispute then the company will use this opportunity to enter into meaningful negotiations.

“Mitie must recognise that this is the company’s last chance to resolve the dispute before strikes, which will cause serious disruption across the Sellafield complex, begin.

“Unite members are no longer going to accept rates below the real living wage, when undertaking challenging roles on a maximum security site.”

A Mitie spokesman said: "GMB is the only recognised union for our soft services contract at Sellafield. This continues to be a constructive relationship.

"Following recent successful pay negotiations with the GMB, we have increased hourly rates for employees on both contracts. These offers were accepted following a ballot of GMB union members."