AROUND 1,000 contractors at Sellafield are being balloted for potential strike action, after Unite have criticised an ‘unacceptable offer’ from management.

More than 3,000 engineering construction workers nationally, operating under the National Agreement for Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), are being balloted for strike action overpay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said on Thursday, September 7.

This includes about 1,000 Sellafield Ltd. contractors who the union say conduct critical repair and maintenance at the site.

Unite say the workers are angry that the value of their pay has been progressively falling since the pandemic.

The union say they began preparing for formal industrial action proceedings when the union says it became clear the two-year deal put forward for 2024 and 2025 averaging six per cent per year was rejected by 92 per cent of the membership, saying the offer does not go far enough to restore wages for NAECI workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This offer is completely unacceptable when the industries involved are awash with profits. It does nothing to reverse the shrinking value of these workers’ wages over successive years or that higher pay elsewhere is causing workforce shortages.

“It also ties these workers into gambling on the economy and inflation in 2024 and 2025 when their finances have already been battered by increasingly unpredictable market forces. Unite stands rock solid with our NAECI members – the employers’ must come back with an acceptable offer.”

However, Sellafield Ltd. have said they are hopeful the contractors will be able to resolve the situation with the union before any industrial action takes place.

A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd. said: "We are aware that trades unions signed up to the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) are balloting their members over pay.

"This affects approximately 1,000 contractors employed under the NAECI agreement at Sellafield.

"We understand that further talks are planned and are hopeful that industrial action can be avoided.

"In the event of industrial action, we have robust contingency plans to ensure the site remains safe and secure."

The ballots for strike action begin opening on September,13 and will close in mid-October, with strike action scheduled to start later that month.