Sellafield faces wave of industrial action in health and safety dispute

Workers from nine sub-contracting companies will be staging a wave of industrial action in the escalating dispute at Sellafield in Cumbria to improve health and safety and productivity at the nuclear facility.

Construction workers involved in the decommissioning and renewal project at the site are angry at the refusal by Sellafield Ltd and the 14-strong group of sub-contractor companies to facilitate a full-time union convenor on the site.

Members of Unite, the country’s largest union, working for Balfour Beatty Engineering Construction Services; Cape Industrial Services; Focus Scaffolding; Hertel UK; Interservice Industrial Services; Jacobs Stobbarts; Meldrum Ltd; Mitie Facilities Services (also known as OneFM) and PPS Electrical  will be imposing an overtime ban and working to rule from Thursday 27 August.

Workers at all the companies, except Balfour Beatty, will also be striking between 05:30 and 08:00 on 1, 9 and 16 September followed by a 24 hour stoppage starting at 00:01 on 23 September.

Unite regional secretary for the north west Mick Whitley said: “The bully boy tactics by the sub-contractors are still continuing as our members raise legitimate concerns about health and safety.

“The shop stewards have agreed a future programme of industrial action in response to the intransigence of the various employers.

“Unite has repeatedly called for meaningful talks, but they have been rebuffed at every stage, and our members have no alternative but to take industrial action, including a day’s strike on 23 September.

“The continuing attitude of the bosses underlines the draconian attitude of the contractors at Sellafield and means that industrial relations are now teetering on the edge of the abyss.”

Ballots are also being held at four other sub-contractors: Amec Foster Wheeler; Doosan Babcock; Hargreaves; and PC Richardson & Co for industrial action on the health and safety issues. The ballots close on Wednesday 26 August.


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