Workers at the Drax power station in north Yorkshire are gearing up to hold a ballot for strike action over 230 proposed redundancies, after overwhelmingly rejecting the latest offer from the company.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 30 June) that the prospect of strike action later this summer had resurfaced after the union’s members had rejected the management’s latest offer by 84 per cent in a consultative ballot.

Unite said that if the workers voted for strike action it would be the first time that such action had taken place at the highly profitable plant, owned by the Drax Group Ltd.

The dispute centres on the six-unit site at Selby where the company is planning to close two coal-fired units next April. The other four units are bio mass, using wood chip pellets. The coal powered units are being replaced by gas generation ones.

Unite said that when the pay deal was hammered out last year, it was agreed that there would be no compulsory redundancies amongst the 600-strong workforce, but the company has now backtracked on that agreement.

Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said:The members have rejected the revised offer by an 84 per cent majority and voted to proceed to an industrial action ballot.

“Our members even offered to take a pay and bonus freeze to improve redundancy terms and maintain jobs, but that has been rejected by the bosses. 

“This must be seen against a background of a soaring share price based on the future development at Drax and huge profits of £415 million generated in the last financial year by the Selby site alone.

“However if the company adopted a scheme of natural wastage as workers left or retired, this would cost just £25 million a year for a limited period until the workforce is reduced.

“What we have here is a classic case of bad faith by the management as this highly profitable company pledged there would no compulsory redundancies when the pay deal was agreed in 2019.

“They backtracked on this promise, despite the Selby staff working flat-out during the pandemic and being classed as key workers. So we are now preparing for the strike ballot which will be held in July.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

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