Thousands of construction workers at key energy sites across the UK have voted to strike over pay.
The workers, who are covered by the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), have seen their pay fall over 20 per cent behind inflation, trade union GMB said.
They voted to turn down a pay deal of 8.5 per cent for 2024 and 3.5 per cent for 2025 and opted to go on strike for a better deal.
The industrial action, which is said to include up to 3,000 construction workers, could affect Stanlow, Fawley, Valero, Grangemouth and Mossmorran oil refineries.
Among that number, one third (1,000), are said to be contractors at the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria, but none are among Sellafield’s directly employed workforce.
Strike votes are also expected at Drax and Hartlepool nuclear power station in the coming days, said GMB.
It is understood some workers will be taking part in the strike action for the first time in their careers.
More than 50 GMB and Unite representatives from across the industry will now meet to discuss next steps on behalf of the workers.
“Our members’ pay has fallen over 20 per cent behind inflation,” said GMB national officer, Charlotte Brumpton-Childs.
“The employers have forced our members into a position where they are taking part in industrial action ballots of this scale for the first time in their careers.
“The message from the workforce is loud and clear: value their work.”
A Sellafield spokesperson said: “We are aware that trades unions signed up to the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) are balloting their members over pay.
“This affects approximately 1,000 contractors employed under the NAECI agreement at Sellafield.
“We are hopeful that industrial action can be avoided.
“In the event of any action we have contingency plans in place to ensure the site remains safe and secure.”
Image credit: Simon Ledingham, aerial view Sellafield, Cumbria, via WikiCommons.
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