Mitie tensions mount in Sellafield dispute as fresh strike action set to go ahead
- Wednesday 1 May 2019
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has reiterated that its members employed by troubled outsourcing giant Mitie on the Sellafield contract, will receive the union’s 100 per cent support, after being harassed and spied upon while taking part in lawful industrial action.
The workers, who began strike action last week in a dispute over pay, report that the strike is totally solid, but the actions of Mitie’s management have been totally reprehensible.
The 180 Unite members also report that Mitie’s local management has been attempting to intimidate strikers. The harassment includes: management being posted on all gates across the Sellafield site to spy on pickets and demonstrators. On one gate Mitie’s management attempted to interfere with the pickets and allegations that Mitie’s management taking photographs and videos of the pickets.
The dispute is a result of low paid staff employed by Mitie on the Sellafield contract, including: security guards, cleaners, catering, vending laundry and environmental operatives, rejecting the company’s pay offer which would see workers being paid just £8.21 per hour.
10 days of strikes
Following the first six days of strike action which ended on Monday 29 April, a further 10 days of strikes will begin on Saturday 4 May, ending on Monday 13 May.
As part of the forthcoming industrial action, strikers will stage marches on the 7, 8, 9 and 10 May at 04:45 from the Yottenfews car park to the north and main gates. This is a result of Mitie reengaging on an agreement to allow the strikers to park on the site, during the dispute, to ensure the safety of those involved; a move which has been branded as ‘petty’ by Unite.
Despite Unite scaling back the original strikes to allow for peace talks, Mitie declined the offer and no negotiations to end the dispute are scheduled.
Spying on strikers
Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “The strike has been totally solid and apart from the sinister harassment and spying on the strikers, there has been a good atmosphere on the picket lines.
“Mitie’s desperate attempts to undermine the strike have rebounded and simply led to members redoubling their determination for their voice to be heard and respected.
“Mitie needs to realise that Unite members will no longer accept ridiculous levels of low pay.
“If Mitie wants the dispute resolved then they need to sit down with the union and enter into meaningful negotiations, rather than waste their energy on petty attempts to intimidate Unite members.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.