FIREFIGHTERS at Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria are set to strike for the first time in a dispute over pay. Scores of GMB union members will strike for 24 hours on October 17 and 19 after the union accused the company yesterday of breaking promises.
Bosses have already faced strike action by 3,000 GMB members and 1,200 members of union Unite are planning action over separate pay issues. Sellafield has 70 specialist firefighters who double as paramedics.
The firefighters originally planned to strike in July, but delayed the action when management promised to deliver proposals to settle the dispute. However, GMB says they failed to do so.
GMB said emergency cover will be provided.
Senior organiser Chris Jukes said: “Sellafield Limited management made what GMB believed was an offer in good faith a couple of months ago to resolve this dispute, which dates back years, by the end of September. “GMB’s firefighters have remained professional throughout this process which started in 2012, undertaking all the relevant training courses required, many done on their rest days.
“Management have broken their promises with the latest offer at the end of last week.”
He said there is “a well-developed masters-and-servants culture” at Sellafield with senior managers — enjoying top bonuses costing nearly £20 million a year — on one end and workers on the other.
A Sellafield spokesman said: “We made an offer to the firefighters which included an additional allowance for carrying out extra work. “We agreed to work with the GMB and the firefighters to assess the value of that allowance. We remain open to further discussions.”