Specialist scientists and engineers responsible for the closure programme at the Harwell and Winfrith nuclear sites say they have been forced into industrial action after management refused to match the 2015 pay offer being awarded to the rest of the company.
Nearly 300 members of the Prospect union will take part in the walkouts beginning at 10.30am on Tuesday 1 December at the Harwell site, Oxford and 10.30am Wednesday 2 December at the Winfrith site, Dorset.
The strike will be followed by continuous action short of a strike which will include working to terms and conditions of employment and to contractual hours of attendance. The action has been organised to coincide with matching protests by members of the Unite union.
RSRL and Magnox Limited merged on 1 April 2015 to form a single organisation operating as Magnox Limited, with Harwell and Winfrith now called Magnox South Sites.
But despite senior Magnox managers pushing the “one company ethos” at the former RSRL sites, staff in Harwell and Winfrith have been offered 1.2%, while those at the other Magnox sites receive 1.6%.
Prospect argues that the 1.2% increase will compound significant pay ‘gaps’ that already exist between equivalent roles. In the worse cases, some Magnox South Sites staff will receive nearly £10k less than colleagues on comparable grades.
Prospect negotiator Richard Tabbner said: “The union has consistently said that we are willing to meet the employer to discuss improvements and avoid the need for industrial action. But the employer’s approach has left us with no other alternative.
“We have not had a credible response explaining why we cannot have parity with our wider Magnox colleagues. Instead, the employer insists on ‘dipping’ into the contractual performance-related pay pot like a modern day highwayman, proposing to use already earned pay awards to fund the annual claim.
“The merger of RSRL and Magnox Ltd was sold as an opportunity to share experiences, and find common systems and processes for the safe decommissioning of former nuclear power plants around the UK. Yet it seems this spirit of inclusiveness does not extend to a fair approach to pay across the company.”
Notes to editors:
Almost 75% of members voted in the industrial action ballot – 85% of them voted in favour of a strike and 94% voted for action short of a strike.
Both former RSRL sites are an important part of the UK’s nuclear history with origins that go back, in Harwell’s case to the earliest days of the UK’s nuclear industry in the 1940s, and in Winfrith’s to the late 1950s.
For further information contact:
Richard Tabbner 01932 577028 (w) 07713 511725 (m) firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Beirne 020 7902 6625 (w) 07753 933174 (m) email@example.com