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AWE staff in 24 hour strike over pension changes

Workers have been carrying out industrial action over pension changes

Up to 600 workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire are on strike today in a continuing dispute over changes to their pensions.

Members of the Unite union from the sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield will join colleagues from across the country protesting at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall. They say they stand to lose thousands of pounds in retirement income.

The firm's defined benefit pension scheme was closed on 31 January 2017.

"Our committed members feel betrayed and badly let down by what has happened to their pensions and they don't deserve to lose thousands of pounds when they retire.

"There is a solution that could resolve this dispute and that is to allow the AWE workforce to join the principal civil service pension scheme.

"Our members want to have a constructive dialogue with Michael Fallon, but they have met with a brick wall which is insulting to such a dedicated workforce delivering the government's flagship Trident nuclear programme.

"So on Tuesday, our members will be knocking on the proverbial front door at the MoD as they seek to secure a decent retirement income that they were promised by a Tory government a quarter of a century ago."

– Jennie Formby, Unite regional secretary for the south east

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AWE meeting will be held to discuss job cuts

AWE in Aldermaston, Berkshire. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Bosses at the Atomic weapons establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield will meet with the union Prospect later to discuss plans to cut hundreds of jobs.

It was announced on Thursday that five hundred posts at AWE will be lost in a bid to streamline operations. It's the first meeting since the announcement was made.

Report says jobs at AWE in Berkshire could be protected

AWE jobs could be protected according to pressure group Credit: ITV News Meridian

The shock decision to cut 500 jobs at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire is more about private companies making bigger profits than cutting public services to repay the country's debts.

That's the conclusion of the independent Nuclear Information Service pressure group. It says a partnership should be set up between local councils, trade unions, and the Ministry of Defence to plan ways of diversifying work at AWE. It claims jobs could be protected without building new nuclear weapons. Trade unions are meeting on Monday to discuss the situation.

Five hundred jobs to go at Aldermaston

The Atomic Weapons Establishment is planning 500 job losses Credit: ITV

The Atomic Weapons Establishment is planning 500 job losses.

The company issued a statement a short time ago: "The changes will maintain and enhance the core stockpile, production and capital investment projects with safety, security and quality remaining central to all our operations. These focus on improving and streamlining ways of working, investing in the capability of our people whilst reshaping and rebalancing our resources with all roles contributing directly to programme delivery.

"While the company is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies where possible, a reduction of roles in some areas and an increase in others is required to ensure long-term efficiencies while meeting overall programme requirements.

"The welfare of our staff is our main concern and we will be doing everything we can to support them throughout the process.

"As a result, the organisation is proposing to reduce the number of roles in some support functions and activities of the business where this is appropriate, with a reduction of around 500 roles across the organisation."

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Owners speak of devastation at how secretary stole thousands from family business

Secretary at the Old Mill wedding venue in Aldermaston stole nearly £90,000 from owners of the venue.

Joanne Jordan was jailed for two years Credit: Thames Valley Police

The owners of the Old Mill, Robin and Diane Arlott, say they were devastated at how their secretary was stealing from their business.

AWE marks 60 years of Apprenticeships

Apprentices in the 1950s Credit: AWE

AWE, the Atomic Weapons Establishment is preparing to celebrate national apprenticeship week. The company has a long tradition of running a apprenticeship schemes.

The event is part of the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

AWE has had been running apprenticeship schemes for over 60 years. Currently, 11% of its workforce is made up of former apprentices.

Rob Cottrell, AWE’s Skills Academy Manager, said: “Apprenticeships allow AWE to grow its own talent pool by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and many of our former apprentices have worked their way up through the company to senior leadership positions.”

Apprentices today Credit: AWE

Woman rescued from caravan fire

Fire fighters rescued a woman from a mobile home fire in West Berkshire during the early hours.

Crews from Hampshire and Berkshire were called to Ravenswing Caravan Park at 3am. They found a heavily smoke-logged property and rescued the woman found inside.

She was carried to safety by fire fighters in breathing apparatus and treated at the scene by fire fighters and paramedics before being taken to hospital. She is in a serious but stable condition.

Trevor Ferguson, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: 'The cause of the fire isn’t yet known and a specialist fire investigation officer will be working with police forensic teams to determine this.

'I’d like to thank the fire fighters and paramedics who attended for their hard work, they did an excellent job. Our thoughts are with the lady who was injured and we wish her a speedy recovery.'

Hundreds at Trident nuclear weapons protest

The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, Berkshire Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

About 300 protesters in Berkshire have been demonstrating against replacing the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system.

A seven-mile "peace scarf", which took eight months to knit, was stretched from the Atomic Weapons Establishments in Aldermaston to Burghfield.

Police closed several roads for about five minutes at 1pm to enable all of the pieces of material to be connected for the whole seven-mile distance.

The sites in Aldermaston and Burghfield provide the warheads for the submarine-launched missile system.

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