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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Mitie workers set to strike

SELLAFIELD is facing strike action by cleaners, postal workers and staff who look after the nuclear site’s changing rooms.

They are all employed by Mitie, which recently won a £200 million contract for supplying services to the site.

More than 100 workers will be involved in the action, which could have a severe impact on site facilities.

It starts next Wednesday with an overtime ban. The staff will follow up with a one-day strike on April 16, and every Monday after that.

In a pay dispute ballot more than 75 per cent of staff voted in favour of the strikes.

The action has the full backing of the GMB union. Regional organiser Steve Gibbons said yesterday: “It’s reluctant but unavoidable. We are talking about some of the lowest-paid employees working at Sellafield. Mitie has won this massive Sellafield contract for managing Sellafield facilities and they can’t pay their staff a proper wage, nor do they put much into the local economy.”

The union is pressing for a pay rise of at least 3.4 per cent, in line with the cost of living. Mitie has offered two per cent.

Mr Gibbons warned about the effects that both the overtime ban and the strikes will have on Sellafield services.

He said: “The standards of cleanliness and hygiene are going to go down. Post will just stack up and there will be issues in the change rooms in supplying clothing for workers on some of the plants.”

Mitie catering and waste disposal staff are not affected by the dispute. The GMB will be putting in a separate pay claim for them.

Although Sellafield Ltd says it has no direct influence on the issue, the company said: “We would encourage Mitie and their workforce representatives to work together to find a mutually acceptable solution without the need for industrial action.

“We will speak to Mitie to find out what contingency plans they have in place to manage the services they provide for us during any period of action. We are confident that while it may cause us significant inconvenience it will not have a detrimental impact on nuclear safety or security.”

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