Sellafield strikes suspended for now as talks agreed

Sellafield strikes suspended for now as talks agreed

19 January 2018

A strike by members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, scheduled for next Tuesday (23 January), which would have created widespread disruption at Sellafield, has been called off to allow for negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute over the victimisation of a trade union rep to take place.

The strike involves workers at civil engineering company DSD Construction, who are undertaking work to improve security at the nuclear reprocessing site. The strike was called after Unite’s newly elected shop steward James Bainbridge was victimised and then dismissed and would have caused widespread disruption if it had gone ahead.

DSD Construction has now agreed to enter into negotiations to seek a resolution. These talks will take place next Thursday (25 January). 

As a consequence the first strike which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday 23 January has been called off. The overtime ban due to begin next Tuesday has also been suspended.

However if the talks do not bring a resolution to the dispute then the remaining strikes scheduled to begin on Thursday 1 February and Wednesday 7 February will go ahead.

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “Unite has called off the initial strike in good faith, to allow talks to take place.

“DSD must table solutions to end this dispute and to reinstate the Unite shop steward.

“If this dispute is not resolved through negotiations then there will be strikes in early February which will cause disruption throughout the Sellafield complex.”

Within 24 hours of being elected as the shop steward Mr Bainbridge was relocated from the Sellafield site to DSD’s Carlisle depot, 40 miles away.

Unite intervened and Mr Bainbridge returned to work at Sellafield. He was  then suspended and dismissed after he raised a collective grievance on behalf of members. 

The grievance concerned: working in the rain, the supply of inadequate and substandard personal protective equipment (PPE) and uniforms and making weekend work available to all workers.


For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: 

  • 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.