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Sellafield Strike Over Pay

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GMB Sellafield Health Monitors In 24 Hour Strike On Tuesday 28th July In Pay Dispute

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 HPMs 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  HPMs 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 HPMs 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.”

Ends

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

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