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Further Strikes At Sellafield In Pay Dispute

Friday, August 21, 2015

GMB Sellafield Health Monitors In Further Strikes From Tuesday 25th To Friday 28th August In Pay Dispute

Management have made no further attempts at any reasoned dialogue so further action by the Health Monitors is necessary says GMB

GMB, which represents 400 Health Physics Monitors at Sellafield nuclear site, has given notice of further strike action from Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 August in the on-going pay dispute. These workers took part in a 24 hour strike on Tuesday 28th July to secure a substantially better rate of pay through a re-grading process. See notes to editors for copy of previous GMB press release on this dispute.

The details of the strike action are as follows:

Tuesday 25th August 2015 from 8.30am to 12.30pm with a March from Yottonfews to Sellafield Main Gate.

Wednesday 26th August 2015 starting at 6.30am for two full days ending on Friday 28th August 2015 at 6.30am.

Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said “Management have made no further attempts at any reasoned dialogue so further action by the Monitors is necessary especially as they have delivered a massive mandate, compliant with current and proposed future legislation, by a secret ballot for industrial action.

Management have spent weeks spinning a line from a busted PR machine without any substance behind it. Management have said they have tried negotiations. Wrong they haven't. They have spent weeks trying to tell the outside world it is business as usual but it isn't.

Management at Sellafield created the situation by the way they have handled the Monitors’ pay banding issue as well as any solution.

Management blatantly tried to de-recognise the GMB and our members 18 months ago by grading the Monitors in such a way that the GMB would have lost recognition rights. Yet what management are now holding out for is a far poorer deal for the Monitors than the offer they made to the workforce 18 months ago. The fact is Management have moved the goalposts repeatedly and even when perfectly reasonable solutions were at hand,

Management would rather attack the GMB and its members than seek to resolve matters. They have just inflamed matters and as such there will be a March from Yottonfews to the Sellafield Main Gate on 25th August during that strike period.

We have recently seen an excellent media programme by Professor Jim Al-Khalili on Sellafield about the site from inception to now. What a shame that current management is failing to live up to those high ideals that built and grew Sellafield in the first place and carried that important work on for decades since“.

We are aware of the divisions that Management are seeking to drive between industrial workers on site with communications which smack of public relations first, macho management second, personal attacks third.

The sheer propaganda that Management have been putting out is aimed at talking tough. The dispute is also rapidly becoming as much about personalities on site as reaching a reasonable, professional and productive settlement. That should be the goal of all sides and GMB members are most certainly up for that. The Health Physics Monitors need support. What the rest of the workforce need to know is that it is the Monitors today so it could well be other workers coming under attack next from an emboldened Management backed by new laws. The way that Management have gone about the regrading of workers does not fill us any with confidence about much wider issues on pay and grading that management want to engage in, their so called Broad Roll Mapping. If Management can’t get the Monitors’ situation right, how on earth do they expect to get it right for the rest of the thousands of workers that work in house at Sellafield”.


Contact Chris Jukes on 07870 176733 or Joan Anderson on 07870 176732 or Joe Murdock on 019467 73652 or GMB press office 07921 289880                                          

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press release dated 21st July 2015


There is huge frustration at inertia in Sellafield and the lack of willingness by management to negotiate openly, transparently and with a view to the future says GMB

GMB members employed as Health Physics Monitors on the Sellafield nuclear site will take strike action on Tuesday 28th July 2015 between 00.01 and 23.59 to secure a substantially better rate of pay through a re-grading process.

The result of the official strike ballot was announced on 6th July 2015. 97.8% voted Yes and 2.2% voted No with a turnout of 83.76%.

The Health Physics Monitors are trained in assessment of radiological conditions to provide appropriate radiological safety and advice to safeguard personnel, plant and environment.

GMB has given the company an assurance that minimum safety manning levels will be maintained throughout the strike.

Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said “The issue of pay and grade for the Health Physics Monitors is something that has been rumbling on for at least fifteen years.

GMB representing the Health Physics Monitors (HPMs) has been engaged in intensive discussions with Sellafield management for a couple of years.

However matters reached an impasse with management after all parties thought that an agreement had been reached to settle the issue.

Initially the Monitors received an uplift in their grade which led to a major problem with the inherited negotiating arrangements on site.

Subsequent renegotiations led to what we understood to be a situation that could lead to an increase in Monitor take home pay. However, in subsequent discussions around criteria for progression to a new rate of pay, it became clear to workplace representatives that there would be an unknown number of monitors benefiting from changes.

Management subsequently refused to elaborate on their views of the criteria or the number of post holders who would go up in grades. The situation escalated when Management refused to negotiate further.

The Health Physics Monitors became extremely frustrated at the situation and it became clear in meetings of the workforce that there was a mood to take matters further.

GMB undertook a consultative ballot of its members, by secret ballot, in March 2015 to ask its members in the Health Physics Monitors if they would be prepared to take strike action. On a huge turnout an overwhelming 97.71% voted yes.

As a result of the strength of feeling from the consultative ballot GMB then conducted a full official with 97.8% voting Yes. Even under new proposed Tory laws there could not be a clearer demonstration of dissatisfaction by a worker group as to how this situation has arisen.


It is a crying shame that we have reached this position and there is huge frustration at the complete inertia that exists within the Sellafield culture and the lack of willingness by management to negotiate openly, transparently and with a view to the future.

Unless there is a collective cultural change there will be an unsustainable position on Sellafield.


We want growth, jobs and new build in West Cumbria. This problem of pay is a symptom of a much wider problem but the Monitors should not have to pay the price for a culture that has now become as much about personalities as anything else, with the back drop being seemingly a complete failure to communicate.”




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