WORKERS set to go on strike at a flagship nuclear site have accused bosses of “going cold” over a pay deal.
More than 1,100 maintenance staff and electricians at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing and decomissioning site will stage a 24-hour walkout next Tuesday.
Their union Unite accused government ministers of “pulling the strings behind the scenes” and forcing the state-controlled Sellafield Ltd to adopt a “new hardline attitude” over pay talks.
Workers are striking over a “completely unacceptable” 1.5 per cent pay offer — far below the rate of inflation.
Unite regional officer Graham Williams said: “Our members are highly trained and not prepared to accept such a derisory offer as the consumer prices index of inflation rose to 3 per cent in September. Inflation is eroding our members’ take-home pay.
“The Sellafield bosses appear to have adopted a new hard-line attitude on the pay talks which we believe is being orchestrated by the unseen hands of government ministers who are pulling the strings behind the scenes.
“We had talks with management on October 23 which were very positive, but a week later the atmosphere had dramatically changed — it was as if the shutters had come down.”
Mr Williams warned there were “more strikes on the cards in the run-up to Christmas” that would go ahead if bosses did not offer a good deal.
Over 90 per cent of the workers voted for strike action.
A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “As always, the safety and security of the Sellafield site, our workforce and the community are our priorities during this industrial action.”