Troubled outsourcer Mitie is facing fresh disruption as members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, have voted for industrial action in separate disputes at London City airport and at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing centre in Cumbria.

Sellafield dispute

The Sellafield dispute concerns pay and involves workers employed as security guards, catering, vending and laundry operatives. The workers at the category one nuclear site are paid just £8.45 an hour.

Despite overwhelmingly rejecting Mitie’s pay offer, the company has refused to allow Unite a seat at the negotiating table and, therefore, the union undertook an industrial action ballot.

Unite’s 180 members voted by 98 per cent in favour of strike action on a 70 per cent turnout.

Two periods of 10 day strike action

Unite has announced two 10 day periods of strike action the first beginning at 00:01 on Friday 19 April, concluding at 06:00 on Monday 29 April 2019, followed by a further strike beginning at 00:01 on Saturday 4 May, concluding at 06:00 hours on Monday 13 May. This will be complimented by a discontinuous ban on overtime commencing at 00:01 on Friday 19 April 2019.

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “Mitie is a multi-million pound company that is refusing to pay workers even the living wage, on a high security site.

“Our members are no longer going to accept poverty wages and if Mitie wants to prevent huge disruption at the complex, then it needs to make a fair pay offer.”

Action at London City Airport

Unite members employed by Mitie at London City Airport are also set to take action in a dispute over pay, conditions, recognition and welfare facilities. The workers are employed as security guards and providing assistance to workers with mobility issues.

The workforce is seeking a significant pay increase, enhance rates of pay for overtime and improved sick pay. They are also demanding that Mitie recognises Unite and that adequate rest break facilities are provided. Currently workers have just a 45 minute break, but their restroom is a 15 minutes walk away from their workplace.

Workers voted 100 per cent in favour of industrial action on a 69 per cent turnout.

Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: “Mitie is treating its workforce with complete contempt. Workers are being subjected to low pay and third rate conditions.

“Mitie is drinking in the last chance saloon and if it wants to avoid industrial action then they need to immediately enter into meaningful negotiations and properly address the workers concerns.”

Meanwhile, in a further example of Mitie industrial unrest, Unite members employed at Southampton hospital as security guards held the first of eight days of industrial action last Friday (8 April) in a dispute over safety, pay and sick pay.

Mitie has failed to provide the security guards with stab vests despite the workers coming under frequent attack from patients and hospital visitors.

The workers are paid just £8.64 an hour and only receive sick pay if they can prove that they were injured at work.

There will be seven days of strike action with further 24 hour strikes on 19 April and 24 May. There will also be a 48 hour stoppage starting on 3 May and a further 72 hour strike on 7 June. All the strikes start at 00.01.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.