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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 15:35 GMT
Sellafield workers to strike
About 10,000 people work at Sellafield
Strike action by workers at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant will be taken within the next two weeks, unions have announced.

The selective walkouts - the first for 30 years - are expected to close the site for up to three days at time.

About 2,400 workers at the Cumbrian plant, owned by British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), were balloted on Monday.

They voted overwhelmingly for industrial action as part of a long-running dispute over pay.

But BNFL have said the decision to strike could jeopardise the recovery of the site.

Shift pay

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Energy said emergency manning cover would be provided during the "selective shift strikes".

He added: "In light of yesterday's [Monday] ballot results which reflect the workers' anger and disappointment, BNFL need to sit down and talk with us.

"They can still stop the dispute by engaging in meaningful negotiations."

The dispute centres around an agreement made by BNFL in 1999 to harmonise the 2,000 difference in shift pay between industrial workers and staff by April next year.

But the company have only offered to begin the process of harmonisation in April 2004 and not completing the process until April 2009.

This extended harmonisation plan was rejected by the workers at Sellafield.

The current shift pay for industrial workers is 6,750 and for white collar staff is 8,750.

'Unhelpful' action

Dougie Rooney, Amicus national secretary for energy, said: "BNFL must honour the commitment they gave to industrial shift workers and increase their shift pay to 8,750 by April 2004."

The site employs about 10,000 workers although only a quarter are involved in the dispute.

BNFL said in a statement: "Today's decision by Sellafield shop stewards to implement selective strikes within the next two to three weeks will jeopardise the recovery of the site and put at risk the excellent progress made by the whole workforce over recent years.

"Safety will be maintained at Sellafield regardless of the nature or duration of any strike and there is a longstanding agreement with the trade unions to that effect."

Sellafield staff vote for strike
27 Oct 03  |  Cumbria

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