Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 15:50 UK

Sellafield staff vote for strike

Sellafield bosses say safety will be paramount during any strike action

Staff at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant have voted to take industrial action over a pay dispute.

The majority of Unite union members - about 1,200 of the Cumbrian site's 10,000 strong workforce - voted for strike action on Wednesday.

It comes after bosses rejected union calls to increase a 2% basic pay rise

The Prospect union called off its ballot last month after agreeing a deal. The results of a GMB ballot are expected next week.

Unite represents maintenance and operations staff at the site.

Alan Westnedge, the union's regional officer, said: "We are extremely disappointed that the company are not prepared to move from a 2% offer on basic rates when inflation is at 5% and rising.

'Crucial time'

"This yes vote shows our members are prepared to take part in industrial action and are willing to fight for fair pay and conditions.

"Unite is calling on Sellafield to return to talks and put an improved offer on the table."

A spokeswoman for Sellafield Ltd said the company remained committed to finding a resolution through negotiation.

She said: "The fact remains that there is no more money available, the offer we have made to the workforce is the best we can make.

"This is a crucial time for the company, as we aim to play a key role in the national nuclear renaissance, and, as has been said before, we do not believe that a strike would be in anyone's interest."

Prospect represents more than 4,000 managerial staff, while the GMB represents about 2,500 staff in various positions.

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