Unite, the UK’s leading union, will ballot its members at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermarston and Burghfield in Berkshire for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

The dispute is a result of the AWE’s management only offering the workers a five per cent pay increase and a bonus scheme. This is in reality a considerable real terms pay cut with the inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 12.6 per cent.

Balloting workers

Unite will begin balloting its 900 members at the AWE sites for strike action on Friday 4 November with the ballot closing on Friday 2 December. If members vote for strike action then industrial action could begin before Christmas.

The workers at Aldermarston and Burghfield are involved in the production of the Trident programme.

Real terms pay cut

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The workers at AWE are highly skilled and play a crucial role in maintaining the UK’s defence capability. It is outrageous that their employer is trying to force through a real terms pay cut.

“Unite is now entirely focussed on enhancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, the workers at AWE will receive the union’s complete support.”

The government renationalised the AWE in 2020 and it is an arms length body of the Ministry of Defence.

Last resort

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Bob Middleton said: “Members are balloting for strike action as a last resort, the AWE has been given every opportunity to make a pay offer which meets members’ expectations but it has chosen not to.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.