The dispute around Firefighters working at Sellafield Ltd in West Cumbria has escalated. A first strike is already called for Monday 24th July at 06.01 hours until Tuesday 25th July 2017 at 05.59 hours.
GMB, the union for nuclear workers, has called a second 24 hour strike at Sellafield at the end of July.
The strike will run from 06.01 hours on Monday 31st July 2017 until 05.59 hours on Tuesday 1st August 2017.
The dispute is about an historic problem whereby firefighters working at Sellafield have been underpaid for many years and being working beyond their job role and grade in important safety and emergency work such as carrying out paramedic work.
GMB says that firefighters have been incensed at the indifferent attitude of local and senior management, whilst upgrading other workers who work on the site and in the process busting the credibility of the pay and grading structure internally at Sellafield.
Chris Jukes GMB Senior Organiser said:
"Sellafied management have sought to portray their own workforce as motivated by greed. However they have failed to say that they have given managers in Fire and Rescue at Sellafield between a 12% and 32% rise in basic pay.
"Sellafield management have disgracefully sought to denigrate firefighters for earning shift pay. But they work 12 hour shifts for that shift payment and on the nuclear site that hosts the highest level of nuclear waste. However Sellafield have been conveniently silent on the fact that some of the managers who have enjoyed between a 12% and 32% pay rise also enjoy a Shift Payment which is the same as that which Firefighters receive".
GMB says that its members are particularly aggrieved that Sellafield management have threatened to sack workers who go on strike and even though this act as been subsequently repudiated by management, the very fact that it was indicated has inflamed matters.
The GMB membership are also concerned about the hiring of a private firm, Securitas to cover the strike.
Mr Jukes said:
"GMB Firefighter members are committed to assuring the community that if there is a major incident they will respond and not put anyone's safety at risk. We have asked to negotiate on that and indeed to resolve the dispute.
"Unfortunately Sellafield just seem to want to be macho, flex their muscles and have a fight, they don't seem interested in getting back round the table. The GMB and its firefighter members are.
"We have asked 9 questions of Sellafield management relating to them hiring Securitas and we have silence to date from Sellafield".
"GMB remains absolutely committed to resolution but Sellafield must stop playing games, engaging in spin before substance and realise that there are legitimate internal comparators that the firefighters believe justifies their position".
Contact: Chris Jukes GMB Senior Organiser 07870 176733 or GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
The 9 questions that the GMB has asked Sellafield around the hiring of Securitas are:
1. What is the total value of the contract with Securitas to deliver fire crews to Sellafield?
2. How many fire crew individuals will be supplied by Securitas and how many have been trained to an equivalent professional fire fighter crew standard?
3. How many days / hours training will the Securitas crew members have undertaken?
4. How many days / hours training will the Securitas crew members have undertaken in specific relevant nuclear sites?
5. Will Securitas staff be providing the site ambulance service?
6. If so, how many days / hours training will the crew members have undertaken?
7. How many Securitas crew members have previously worked at the Sellafield site?
8. Will Sellafield be safe without GMB members of Sellafield Fire & Rescue Service working?
9. What are the known risks of employing outside contractors to provide Sellafield Fire & Rescue services?