Thursday, August 23, 2001

Sellafield industrial workers will learn tomorrow whether or not industrial action is an option over their latest pay offer.

BNFL's offer of an extra 2.75 per cent on basic pay and bonuses has been put to a secret ballot among the workforce over the last fortnight.

Ballot papers have been returned "thick and fast" and counting will take place tomorrow. Union officials say they are delighted by the high response to the ballot which recommends acceptance of the BNFL deal covering the next two years.

But in the event, the Sellafield workforce give it the thumbs down, national union officers said on the ballot papers that "the only way to make further progress will be by way of sustained and effective industrial action" as the company's final offer was the best to be achieved through negotiation.

Sellafield staff have already accepted the deal but a straw poll taken by shop stewards indicated possible rejection.

If the industrials vote "no", a separate industrial action ballot will have to be held.

GMB site convenor John Kane and AEEU regional organiser Alan Westnedge said yesterday they were both pleased by a high return of ballot papers, with more still coming in.

Shop stewards will travel from Sellafield to the AEEU office in Whitehaven to count the craft votes tomorrow morning while the general worker votes will be counted on site by shop stewards and other workforce representatives. The decision is expected to be known during the afternoon.