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GMB SELLAFIELD WORKERS VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY IN FAVOUR OF STRIKE ACTION

Monday, September 4, 2017

For immediate release - Monday 4 September 2017

GMB SELLAFIELD WORKERS VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY IN FAVOUR OF STRIKE ACTION IN DISPUTE OVER PAY

Our members have had enough of the Company imposing their pay upon them, it is no surprise they have voted by more than 3 to 1 to strike says GMB

Members of GMB, the union for nuclear workers, working at Sellafield Limited in Cumbria have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Following the conclusion of a three week ballot process at noon today, 76% of ballot papers returned supported strike action.
The vote to strike comes after the company ignored repeated requests for further talks and instead imposed a below-inflation pay offer of just 1.5%. The Unite union is also due to ballot its 2,000 members at Sellafield.

Sellafield Ltd offered 1.5% in June which was rejected by 88% of GMB members on site during a consultative ballot. The RPI inflation rate is currently 3.6%.


Last year, in order to stop Sellafield management from cutting the pay of apprentices, Sellafield workers accepted just 0.25% extra pay against annual RPI inflation for 2016 of 1.8%.


As part of government led changes to the pensions of nuclear workers, two thirds of Sellafield workers will also have to pay an extra 2 to 6% on their pensions contributions from next year.

Sellafield Ltd had previously offered a pay rise 1.5% in June 2017 which was rejected by 88% of GMB members on site during a consultative ballot. GMB had sought further talks with the company, which were declined.

GMB's Sellafield Strike Committee will meet later this week to decide on the date for the first strike, which will be sometime this month.

In a separate dispute involving Sellafield’s firefighters, considered by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to be among the best in the country, strike action was averted following last ditch talks in July to resolve a dispute which had been unresolved for years, during which time the firefighters had been working beyond their job role and grade in important safety and emergency work such as carrying out paramedic work whilst their pay had fallen behind inflation. Sellafield Limited has yet to deliver on all the elements it committed to in July.

Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

“Since the days of the cold war, the deal for isolated local nuclear communities like Sellafield has been that in exchange for the risks associated with nuclear waste reprocessing - which most people don't want on their doorsteps - they had stable job opportunities, on decent terms and conditions and with secure pensions when production ceased.


“Gnawing away continually at this social contract has consequences. GMB members at Sellafield have had enough with this unfair treatment that has seen their pay fail to keep pace with inflation over recent years. The decision to take industrial action is never, ever taken lightly but shows the level of real anger on the site.

"GMB members at Sellafield have had enough of the Company imposing their pay upon them, it is no surprise they have voted by more than 3 to 1 to strike.

"In addition the Company have made veiled threats in communications to our members around bonus payments when those in senior roles already receive an additional large performance bonus in other words there is one rule for those in senior roles and one rule for industrial workers. The fact is that the pay offer of 1.5% is a pay cut.

"The way that Sellafield Ltd have handled this process has been yet another example of how not to manage and how not to do things. The decision to take industrial action is never, ever taken lightly but shows the level of real anger and betrayal felt by our members who want decent pay for the vital work they do, day in day out.”

"GMB members are also already looking at an increase of between 2 to 6% in their pension contributions and last year, Sellafield workers received just 0.25% extra in their pay packets. This year's offer of 1.5% is way below inflation again and would mean that yet another real terms pay cut for our hardworking members after inflation has been taken into account.

"GMB's Sellafield Strike Committee will meet later this week to decide on the date for the first strike, which will be sometime this month ”

ENDS

Contact: Chris Jukes on 07870 176733 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS


Previous press releases

SELLAFIELD STRIKE BALLOT OPENS AS 3,000 GMB NUCLEAR WORKERS VOTE ON INDUSTRIAL ACTION IN PAY DISPUTE
The work carried out by GMB members at Sellafield is vital to the safe and efficient functioning of the UK's nuclear sector, including the generation of electricity for homes and industry says GMB
GMB, the union for nuclear workers, today (Monday August 14) opened a ballot asking 3,000 members at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria if they want to take part in strike action in a dispute over pay.
The vote comes after the company ignored repeated requests for further talks and instead said it would impose a below-inflation pay offer of just 1.5%.
The strike ballot begins today and will close on Monday, September 4 2017.
The Unite union is also balloting its 2,000 members at Sellafield.
Sellafield Ltd offered 1.5% in June which was rejected by 88% of GMB members on site during a consultative ballot. The RPI inflation rate is currently 3.5%.
Since then, GMB has sought further talks with the company without success.
Last year, in order to stop Sellafield management from cutting the pay of apprentices, Sellafield workers accepted just 0.25% extra pay against annual RPI inflation for 2016 of 1.8%.
As part of government led changes to the pensions of nuclear workers, two thirds of Sellafield workers will also have to pay an extra 2 to 6% on their pensions contributions from next year.
Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said:
“Pay at Sellafield for all but the top brass has failed to keep pace with inflation in recent years and it came as no surprise to GMB when our members voted by a ratio of 9 to 1 to reject Sellafield Ltd’s pay offer, which is less than half the RPI inflation rate.
“At the same time, Sellafield management have chipped away relentlessly at terms and conditions.
“Sellafield management say they want fair pay and good industrial relations, then impose a below inflation pay offer, ignore repeated requests to meet and act like a nodding dog for the NDA [Nuclear Decommissioning Agency].
“In the circumstances, we now have no alternative but to ask our members if they are willing to take strike action in order to achieve a pay offer in line with inflation.
"The work carried out by GMB members at Sellafield is vital to the safe and efficient functioning of the UK's nuclear sector, including the generation of electricity for homes and industry.
“Since the days of the cold war, the deal for these isolated local communities has been that in exchange for the risks associated with nuclear waste reprocessing - which most people don't want on their doorsteps - nuclear communities had stable job opportunities, on decent terms and conditions and with secure pensions when production ceased.
“Gnawing away continually at this social contract has consequences.
"Sellafield workers received just 0.25% extra in their pay packets last year and this year's offer would see them take another real terms pay cut.
“Our hardworking Sellafield member are also already looking at an increase of between 2 to 6% in their pension contributions, so accepting this measly pay offer would mean a double-hit on their quality of life.”
ENDS
Contact: Chris Jukes on 07870 176733, Joe Murdock on 07739 654933 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk
Previous press release:
GMB To Ballot 3,000 Sellafield Members For Strike Action
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
With Sellafield refusing to meet us, GMB has little alternative than to ask our members if they wish to take strike action to achieve a fair pay offer says GMB.
GMB TO BALLOT 3,000 SELLAFIELD NUCLEAR WORKERS FOR STRIKE ACTION OVER BELOW INFLATION PAY OFFER
With Sellafield refusing to meet us, GMB has little alternative than to ask our members if they wish to take strike action to achieve a fair pay offer says GMB
GMB, the union for nuclear workers, is balloting 3,000 members at the Sellafield site in Cumbria for strike action after the company ignored repeated requests for further talks and said instead it would impose a below-inflation pay offer.
The strike ballot begins on Monday, 14th August 2017 and will close on Monday, 4th September 2017.
The Unite union is also balloting its 2,000 members at Sellafield.
Sellafield Ltd offered 1.5% in June which was rejected by 88% of GMB members on site during a consultative ballot.
Since then, GMB has sought further talks with the company without success.
The RPI inflation rate is currently 3.5%. Last year Sellafield workers received just 0.25% extra pay against annual RPI inflation for 2016 of 1.8%.
As part of government led changes to the pensions of nuclear workers, two thirds of Sellafield workers will also have to pay an extra 2 to 6% on their pensions contributions from next year.
Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said:
“GMB members at Sellafield Ltd understandably voted by 9 to 1 to reject the company's pay offer which was less than half the RPI inflation rate.
“GMB's repeated requests for further talks have been ignored and the company has instead said it will impose its below inflation pay rise.
“With Sellafield refusing to meet us, GMB has little alternative than to ask our members if they wish to take strike action to achieve a fair pay offer.
"Last year, Sellafield workers received just 0.25% extra in their pay packets, this year's offer of 1.5% is way below inflation again and would mean that yet another real terms pay cut for our hardworking Sellafield members after inflation has been taken into account.
“Members are also already looking at an increase of between 2 to 6% in their pension contributions, so this would be a double-hit on their living standards.”

GMB SUSPENDS SELLAFIELD FIREFIGHTERS’ STRIKE FOLLOWING IMPROVED PAY OFFER
GMB will now ballot members on the new deal as soon as possible
GMB, the union for Sellafield workers, has suspended the forthcoming strike action by Firefighters at Sellafield after last ditch talks this morning led to animproved pay offer from Sellafield Limited management.
The firefighters had been due to walkout for 24 hours at 6.01am on July 24 and at the same time on July 31.
GMB members will now be balloted on the improved offer.
Firefighters at Sellafield work in a fully–fledged firefighter role to keep the 10,000 plus workers on site safe.
The dispute had been unresolved for years during which time the firefighters have been working beyond their job role and grade in important safety and emergency work such as carrying out paramedic work whilst their pay had fallen behi postponed.
“GMB will now ballot members on the new deal as soon as possible.”
ENDS
Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said:
“Last ditch talks this morning with Sellafield Ltd led to a significantly improved offer being tabled by the company which will now be put to GMB members.
“The planned strike action has therefore been postponed.
“GMB will now ballot members on the new deal as soon as possible.”
ENDS

First Ever Sellafield Firefighters' Strike
Thursday, July 6, 2017
GMB members are angry enough to have given a mandate for the earliest possible strike date.
Read more: http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/first-sellafield-firefighters-strike ;
Last Ditch Talks To Avert Sellafield Firefighters' Strike
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Sellafield's Firefighters are considered to be among the best in the country, yet this is not reflected in the grading of their pay.
Read more: http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/sellafield-firefighters-strike ;
Last Ditch Talks to Avert Sellafield Firefighters’ Strike Adjourned until Next Week
Friday, June 30, 2017
It will take an improved offer to settle this matter which has been unresolved for several years says GMB.
Read more: http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/firefighter-talks-adjourned ;
Sellafield Firefighters To Strike on July 24
Monday, July 10, 2017
Like everyone else in the country who hasn't had pay rises that have kept pace with inflation, GMB's firefighter members at Sellafield need to pay the bills says GMB.
Read more: http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/sellafield-firefighters/strike-date ;
Sellafield Firefighters To Strike For Second Day
Monday, July 17, 2017
The dispute around Firefighters working at Sellafield Ltd in West Cumbria has escalated.
Read more: http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/sellafield-firefighters-second-strike

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