The Sellafield complex, in Cumbria, is facing fresh disruption as workers employed by civil engineering company DSD Construction, voted for strike action as a result of the company sacking the Unite shop steward. 

The company based in Carlisle is currently undertaking work to improve security at the nuclear reprocessing site. 

Three separate periods of strike action have been announced. The first strike will begin at 00:01 on Tuesday 23 January 2018, ending at 07:00 on Wednesday 24 January 2018. Further strikes are then scheduled on Thursday 1 February 2018 beginning at 00:01 ending at 07:00 on Friday 2 February 2018. The final scheduled strike will begin at 00:01 on Wednesday 7 February ending at 07:00 on Thursday 8 February. 

A ban on overtime will also begin from 00:01 on Thursday 23 January. 

Picket lines will be in place and other workers on the site could be reluctant to cross them. 

The strike is a result of DSD Construction sacking Unite’s newly elected shop steward James Bainbridge, just 26 days after being elected to the post. 

Within a day of being elected to the post by his fellow members Mr Bainbridge was already facing harassment by DSD Construction, as he was told to relocate to the Carlisle depot, 40 miles away from the rest of the workforce. 

After Unite’s intervention Mr Bainbridge was reinstated to the Sellafield site and following a meeting of members he submitted a written grievance on their behalf to management. 

The grievance concerned; working in the rain, the supply of inadequate and substandard personal protective equipment (PPE) and uniforms, as well as making weekend work available to all workers. 

Mr Bainbridge was again relocated and meetings to resolve the situation were continually cancelled, without good reason. Mr Bainbridge was then sacked at a meeting on 22 November, without the company adhering to any form of disciplinary procedure. 

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “Unite will not allow a shop steward to be treated in this way, simply for undertaking his normal trade union role. 

“This strike action, which is entirely of DSD’s making, is set to cause widespread disruption throughout the entire Sellafield complex. 

“If DSD wants to avoid these strikes and the disruption it will cause, then the company needs to immediately reinstate our shop steward and address the genuine concerns of our members.” 


Notes to editors: 

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.