A crunch meeting of shop stewards will be held on Friday (14 August) to discuss future industrial action at Sellafield in Cumbria in the growing campaign to improve health and safety and productivity at the nuclear facility.
More than 1,200 construction workers involved in the decommissioning and renewal project at the site are angry at the refusal by Sellafield Ltd and the group of sub-contractor companies to facilitate a full-time union convenor on the site.
Members of Unite, the country’s largest union, working for a total of 14 sub-contractors are in various stages of taking industrial action or being balloted for strike action to address growing health and safety concerns, as well as poor welfare facilities on the construction site.
Staff from four companies – Balfour Beatty Engineering Construction Services; Cape Industrial Services; Jacobs Stobbarts and Mitie Facilities Services – have been involved in some form of industrial action.
They are set to be joined by workers from a further five sub-contractors who have voted by an average of 82 per cent for strike action and by 87 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.
They work for: Focus Scaffolding; Hertel UK; Interservice Industrial Services; Meldrum Ltd and PPS Electrical.
Ballots are being held at five other sub-contractors: Amec Foster Wheeler; Doosan Babcock; Hargreaves; Nuvia and PC Richardson & Co. The ballots open tomorrow (Wednesday 12 August) and close on Wednesday 26 August.
Unite regional secretary for the north west Mick Whitley said: “The campaign of industrial action is widening and shop stewards from the sub-contracting companies will be meeting at the site at 09.00 on Friday to hammer out a strategy to put pressure on the sub-contractors and Sellafield Ltd.
“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.
“Before industrial action steps up a gear, we would urge the management to get around the table for constructive and meaningful talks. Unite is prepared to meet the management at any time and any place to resolve this escalating dispute.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.