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Sellafield Firefighters Begin Strike Over Working Pay and Conditions

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Walkout is a response to Sellafield management’s broken promises, says GMB.

Members of GMB, the union for nuclear workers, are today taking the first of two planned 12.5 hour strikes this week over a heated dispute over pay and conditions at Sellafield.

Firefighters are striking today between 6.00am and 6.30pm, and on Thursday (October 19 between) 6.00amand 6.30pm.

The action comes after Sellafield management failed to keep promises made in July to settle the dispute.

Firefighters had been due to strike on July 24 before the industrial action was averted by last ditch talks.

Further action was suspended to allow management time to implement a promised resolution which was to have been in place by the end of September at the latest.

Since July, GMB and Sellafield management also discussed contingency safety provisions in the event of a serious incident taking place during the strike.

GMB members believe that the work managers said they needed to do on the promised resolution to the firefighters’ remuneration now looks to have been stalling tactics by senior management rather than serious negotiations.

Crews at Sellafield work in a fully–fledged firefighter role to keep the 10,000 plus workers on site safe, along with the surrounding communities.

They are ready to respond immediately to fires and other emergencies - including paramedic work - which is vital given the potentially hazardous nature of work on the Sellafield site.

Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

"Management have broken their promises to the firefighters – and have failed to make a fair offer that would put an end to this dispute

"GMB’s firefighters have remained professional throughout this process, which started in 2012 undertaking all the relevant training courses required, many done on their rest days.

“Sellafield Limited has spun a message of greed with 2,500 senior personnel on Sellafield earning eye-watering bonuses which are in every sense of the word an obscenity compared to what firefighters were promised.

"There is a well developed master and servant culture at Sellafield - senior management on top bonuses costing nearly £20 million per year. This contrasts with a steadfast refusal to recognise the efforts and skills of the workers expected to be in the thick of keeping the 10,000 workers on the site and the much wider community safe in the most difficult of circumstances.

"Feedback from GMB members is that they want to do the work necessary to make the Sellafield site safe if difficult things happen.

"We live in very uncertain times and the firefighters’ priority is to protect the community and the public at large.

“GMB Members have been receptive to Sellafield management when they have been looking at work in what is known as warm zones areas - in other words, firefighters entering areas where a catastrophic incident might take place.

"However, despite the apparent progress and promises more two months ago, it appears senior management in Sellafield Limited have gone bent on their undertakings and returned to the incompetent communications and negotiating style that has become the way of some top brass at Sellafield in recent years.

“GMB members feel insulted that management have taken this approach and even more incensed when management have expressed ‘disappointment’ with the response from GMB negotiators to the latest offer.

"GMB members recognise, along with their families, that work on a Civil Nuclear Decommissioning Plant - with the accompanying risks from high levels of radioactive waste - means they should be appropriately rewarded.

“The Company has sought to denigrate and bad mouth firefighters by inappropriate comparisons with workers outside the site."


Contact: Chris Jukes on 07870 176733 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Previous Press Releases

Sellafield Firefighters' Strike Back On

Monday 9 October 2017

GMB, the union for nuclear workers, has announced two 12-and-a-half hour strikes by firefighters at Sellafield will go ahead later this month in a dispute over pay after Sellafield management failed to keep promises made in July to settle the dispute.

Read more:

GMB Members Employed by Sellafield Limited in Cumbria to Strike Tomorrow in Dispute Over Pay

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Members just want a fair pay rise, an end to the upstairs downstairs culture and a leadership that can deliver vision, growth and jobs for Sellafield and the surrounding areas says GMB

Read more:


GMB Sellafield Workers Vote Overwhelmingly in Favour of Strike Action

Monday, September 4, 2017

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

Read more:

Sellafield Firefighters To Strike For Second Day

Monday, July 17, 2017

The dispute around Firefighters working at Sellafield Ltd in West Cumbria has escalated. A first strike is already called for Monday 24th July at 06.01 hours until Tuesday 25th July 2017 at 05.59 hours.

Read more:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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