Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 14:29 UK

Strike ballot for nuclear workers

Sellafield
Staff will be consulted about a strike or action short of a strike

Workers at the Sellafield nuclear plant are to be balloted over industrial action after pay talks broke down.

The union Prospect rejected a 2% offer in May, describing it as the "worst in living memory".

Following negotiation, a potential 2% efficiency bonus was added, but this was turned down. There will also be a ballot of Unite members at the plant.

Sellafield Ltd said the company remained committed to finding a realistic resolution.

Workers at two smaller sites in Risley, Warrington and Capenhurst on the Wirral will also be consulted about a strike or action short of a strike.

Our members should not be expected to tolerate an award that is below the market rate
Mike Graham, from Prospect

Prospect has about 4,000 members at Sellafield, and Unite has about 2,000.

Mike Graham, national secretary of Prospect, said: "Our members have always sought to resolve this issue via negotiation, but equally we are not prepared to sell them short.

"After nine intensive days of talks the company has still not been able to table an offer that comes close to our members' expectations.

"We recognise that Sellafield's holding company, British Nuclear Fuels, faces government pressure to hold down pay in advance of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority awarding the clean-up contract to a new parent body organisation.

"But our members should not be expected to tolerate an award that is below the market rate."

Sellafield Ltd said in a statement: "The company is understandably disappointed that this offer was not acceptable to Prospect and the trade unions.

"We feel strongly that the offer was a fair one when taken in the context of the challenging climate in which the business is currently operating."

It added: "We remain committed to finding a realistic resolution."


SEE ALSO
Nuclear workers in strike threat
04 Apr 08 |  Cumbria
Union's Sellafield job concerns
16 Nov 04 |  Cumbria
Sellafield firm hit by 303m loss
10 Jun 04 |  Cumbria

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