Over 1,200 construction workers involved in the decommissioning and renewal project at Sellafield in Cumbria have begun a work to rule and overtime ban in a campaign to improve health and safety and productivity.
The members of Britain’s largest union, Unite began the action short of strike at 05:30 hours today (Friday 31 July) following a continued refusal by Sellafield Ltd and the group of sub-contractor companies to facilitate a full-time union convenor on the site.
The construction workers, working for 15 sub-contractors, are pressing for the creation of a full-time convenor on the site to improve industrial relations and help address growing health and safety concerns as well as poor welfare facilities on the construction site.
Urging Sellafield Ltd and the sub-contractors to enter into meaningful talks, the union warned that a series of one day strikes delaying the project would move closer unless there were serious moves to address workers’ concerns.
The companies involved in the dispute are: Mitie OneFM, Cape, Jacob Stobbart, Meldrum, Hertel, Focus, Balfour Beatty, Shepley’s, PPS, Amec, Doosan Babcock, Nuvia, Redhall’s, Hargreaves, Kaefer C&D.
Commenting, Unite regional officer Steve Benson said: “Our members are sick and tired of being treated like second class citizens on one of Europe’s biggest construction projects.
“They want to be able to work in a safe environment, with constructive industrial relations and decent welfare facilities. Yet they are being met with continual resistance from sub-contractors and Sellafield Ltd to implement health and safety arrangements which are commonplace elsewhere in the industry.
“Sellafield is an important nuclear facility where health and safety and the welfare of workers should be paramount. Our experience shows that a full-time union convenor would help ensure a healthier, more productive and profitable workplace. We would urge Sellafield Ltd and the sub-contractors to start treating their workers as partners and enter meaningful talks.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.