Electricians who certify tools for use in nuclear power stations are taking strike action

Unite, the country’s leading trade union, announced today (Wednesday 6 September) that its members at Altrad Babcock Ltd are taking strike action following a dismal pay offer from the employer.

Electricians at Altrad Babcock, based in Tipton in the West Midlands, are responsible for certifying that electrical tools are safe to use in nuclear facilities across the country. Yet this safety-critical role is not being valued by the employer, with some members earning as little as £13.62 per hour.

Members ensure that equipment including welding machines, compressors, winches and even site vehicles are certified as electrically safe to use in potentially hazardous environments. Failure to have such certification will mean that the tools and machinery cannot enter the nuclear plants to maintain the facility. Eventually, this could lead to nuclear power plants having to shut down.

Strikes are likely to take place in waves across the autumn and into winter, just as demand for nuclear power stations increases. Dates are as follows:

Wednesday the 20th /Thursday the 21st September at 08:00am until 16:00pm then Monday the 25th & Tuesday the 26th September followed by every Monday: October 2nd 9th 16th 23rd 30th, November 6th 13th 20th 27th, then December, 4th 11th and then on Tuesdays October, 3rd 10th 17th 24th 31st October, then November 7th 14th 21st 28th then December 5th 12th.

In their last accounts filed with Companies House, Altrad Babcock registered profits of £7.1million (an increase from £2.2million the previous year) [1].

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is a disgrace that skilled workers in such a safety critical role are being paid so poorly. They will have the full backing of Unite in their fight for better pay.

“It’s clear Altrad Babcock can afford to pay – the question is, why they are refusing to do so?”

Unite regional officer, Lee Wiggets-Clinton added: “Our members don’t want to strike but have been forced into this position by an employer making huge profits and who refuses to pay a fair share of that to the workers who produce them.

“We are urging Altrad Babcock to come back to the negotiating table with a better pay offer for our members and avoid the nuclear option of strike action.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications adviser David Carnell on 07718 666592.

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.