Unrest grows at Dounreay nuclear decommissioning site

Unrest grows at Dounreay nuclear decommissioning site

23 November 2016

Press release on behalf of Dounreay Joint Trade Unions (1)

The prospect of industrial unrest at the Dounreay nuclear decommissioning site in Caithness is growing after DSRL, the company which employs most of the staff on site (2), indicated it was not prepared to increase its 1% pay offer to staff.  

This was despite a ballot, which attracted a high turnout, indicating an overwhelming rejection by union members.

DSRL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of its parent body organisation (PBO), Cavendish Dounreay Partnership (3), a consortium which makes significant profit out of its operations at Dounreay.  These profits have significantly increased year on year since it took over ownership of DSRL. In 2015, the last year for which accounts are available, the PBO increased its profit to over £9 million pounds.

Despite this increasing profit margin DSRL staff have been offered a below inflation 1% increase, effectively meaning that staff will see their pay reduce, despite the PBO seeing record profit levels.

GMB Officer Liz Gordon said: “It‘s our members who have created this profit for the PBO, and we think it seems only fair and proper that the PBO and DSRL recognise this with a decent pay award, rather than cutting members’ take home pay and pocketing the profit.”

Unite regional officer Ian Ewing said: “Our members at Dounreay have worked very hard to move the decommissioning project forward, yet all they have seen are attacks on their pensions, conditions and now their pay; it is simply unacceptable.”

The impact of suppressing wages for the hundreds of staff employed by DSRL will not just impact those at the site but will feed through to businesses across Caithness and Sutherland as our members have less money to spend.

Prospect Negotiator Richard Hardy said: “Quite simply, money that is being created in Caithness is being counted in California and Colorado. Our members are working hard to decommission the site, yet much of the money this generates is flowing out of Caithness and Sutherland, reducing the economic benefit for the local community. Everybody should get a share of the profits, not just the shareholders.”

Sandra Owsnett, the DSRL Trade Union Co-ordinating Committee Chair said: "It is our firm belief that the offer of 1% falls far short of members' expectations.  We do not believe DSRL have made any serious attempts to address members’ concerns and this has been made clear during the negotiations.”


Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact 

Ian Ewing (Unite), Regional Officer, 01382 227 369

Liz Gordon (GMB), Regional Officer, 01463 233088 or 07920 838588

Richard Hardy (Prospect), National Officer, 0131 558 2660

1. The three Unions recognised  by DSRL, the GMB, Unite and Prospect, are working together to address this pay issue.

2. DSRL (Dounreay Site Restoration Limited) is the site licence company responsible for managing the decommissioning of the site on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). 

3. Cavendish Dounreay Partnership is a consortium of Cavendish Nuclear, CH2M (US owned) and AECOM (US owned).