Thursday, April 18, 2002

More than 700 Sellafield contractors were back at work on Friday after peace talks settled a dispute which had led to them walking out.

The contracting and civil engineering workers voted on Wednesday to take unofficial strike action in a row over outside contractors taking over local jobs and introducing lower rates of pay. They had voted at a mass meeting last week to strike until Monday of this week.

But the dispute was resolved at a meeting on Thursday between BNFL and trade unions from the project joint council, which oversees the construction site, along with the various construction companies involved.

Grant Cattanach, regional organiser for Amicus (formerly the AEEU engineering union), said that its members were due back at work on Friday.

The trouble flared after recent redundancies were made among men employed by Shepleys and APEL (formerly William Press) while contractors paying lower wages had moved on site and taken over projects. Mr Cattanach said that a solution to the problem was reached with the transferred work now being given back to the original construction companies. Mr Cattanach said: "There will now be adherence to the NACI agreement, something that will suit the men, the employer and the client.''

BNFL spokesman, Jamie Reed, said BNFL was pleased that the matter had been resolved and said he was looking forward to business as usual on site.