SELLAFIELD bosses are “turning the screw” on fed-up workers by banning meetings at the nuclear processing plant amid looming strike action, the Unite union revealed yesterday.
The union is preparing to ballot its 2,000 members at the site over a “completely unacceptable” 1.5 per cent pay offer.
Bosses have said they will impose the paltry rise next month as “the majority” of the 11,000-strong workforce were in favour.
But Unite, GMB and Prospect have all balloted their members, showing just 18 per cent backing for the offer.
Unite regional officer Graham Williams accused bosses of banning legitimate workplace meetings.
He said: “The management is slavishly kowtowing to the pay diktats of the government which puts austerity economics at the top of the agenda, which is especially insulting given that we have a highly skilled workforce employed in a safety-critical industry.”
Mr Williams said the union was organising a series of mass meetings over the coming weeks to speak to members about the pay dispute.
“Unfortunately, we have been told that the company has refused to grant both facilities and facility time for us to hold the meetings,” he said.
“This is unprecedented. Sellafield management’s attempt to stifle free and open dialogue is truly disappointing, but hardly surprising in the present austerity-driven climate.”
But, undaunted, Unite is planning a series of off-site meetings in the local community.
A spokeswoman for Sellafi eld said: “We feel it is in nobody’s interests to disrupt important work on site when their decision [on balloting for industrial action] has already been made.”