1. ITV Report

Workers hold further strikes at Sellafield over pay dispute

A ballot saw 90% of Unite union members vote for strikes Photo: PA

Sellafield workers are on strike today in a dispute over pay.

The Unite union, which represents more than 1,000 staff at Sellafield, has called the action, from 6.45am today until 6am tomorrow morning.

It's in response to a 1.5% pay offer imposed by Sellafield in September, backdated to the beginning of April this year.

The industrial action comes as a further strike planned by the GMB is announced to take place next week - involving 3,000 members from 6.01am on Wednesday to 5.59am the next day.

The Unite regional officer said:

People's feelings have been strengthened by the company's lack of action. We have had a strike two weeks ago. We haven't had any meetings with the company since."

– Graham Williams, Unite regional officer

Mr Williams says the union was set to meet Sellafield representatives but claimed the nuclear firm cancelled the meeting.

He added that Unite workers are in dispute over two aspects of the pay:

First of all, the imposition which we can't have and also that we don't think the pay offer is reflective of the roles that our members undertake."

– Graham Williams, Unite regional officer

Sellafield says safety and security are the company's priorities:

The safety and security of the Sellafield site are our priorities during any industrial action. As always, we will work with other agencies to try to minimise disruption for the public."

– Sellafield spokesperson

Unite regional officer Graham Williams commented:

Unite has consistently stated that a pay deal is being obstructed by the invisible hand of ministers. The Sellafield management needs to assert themselves and remove this roadblock to a pay deal.

Our members are highly skilled professionals who have greatly contributed to making large savings at Sellafield and they have been repaid by a derisory pay offer lagging way behind the rising level of inflation.

We would urge the management to get around the table for constructive negotiations, before industrial action is ramped up even further."

– Graham Williams, Unite regional officer

The union says it will continue to maintain a skeleton staff during the strike for health and safety reasons.

The strike follows a ballot of members which saw 90% vote for strikes.