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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

AWE workers strike in pension row

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE plc) in Berkshire have started a 48-hour strike this morning.

Six hundred employees, members of Unite, have walked out of the company's Aldermaston and Burghfield sites in a dispute over pensions.

It's their second 48-hour strike this month.

More to follow.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

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Anti-nuclear weapons demonstrators plan month of protests

Police will use social media to alert the public about disruption to transport links

A month of demonstrations are due to begin at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire today.

Peace group Trident Ploughshares along with other demonstrators will attempt to disrupt operations at AWE's Burghfield site. Thames Valley Police have set up a special Twitter account to provide the public with information about the protests and any disruptions to roads or transport links. in the area.

A previous protest near the site in Burghfield

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.

AWE reacts to fine over fire

Ms Valerie Hincks, AWE's, Senior Manager of Media and Public Affairs, said: "Following the conclusion today of the hearing, AWE plc notes and accepts the judge’s decision and remarks.

"We reiterate our regret that the fire occurred and that a member of our staff was injured.

"We have worked hard to implement our investigation’s recommendations as well as those made by the HSE.

"HSE has acknowledged AWE is now one of the best in class with regard to the response to some of the specific actions, and its overall assessment has positioned us as ‘amongst the best in the UK.

"We will continue to work with the HSE to implement continuous improvements in specific areas."

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AWE fire was "entirely preventable"

After sentencing HSE inspector Dave Norman said: “The fire could have caused multiple casualties and it was entirely preventable had better control systems been in place.

“The failure to instigate such controls was dependent on AWE identifying potential hazards and risks, all of which were well documented, but that simply did not happen.

“Companies working with hazardous substances must take extreme care at all times and in all aspects of their operations.”

AWE sentencing after fire

The Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston will be sentenced today after it admitted safety breaches relating to a major fire at its Berkshire base.

In a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive, the AWE admitted one charge of not ensuring the safety of employees.

One worker suffered burns to his face and arm in the fire which broke out in the building where explosives were being manufactured, in August 2010.

  1. Kate Bunkall

Atomic weapons plant admits failings

An atomic weapons plant has been accused of failing to protect its staff during a fire at the Berkshire base three years ago.

In a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston today pleaded guilty to one charge of not ensuring the safety of employees.

One worker suffered burns to his face and arm in the fire which broke out in the building where explosives were being manufactured, in August 2010. Kate Bunkall sent this report from Reading Crown Court.

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