Firefighters at the Sellafield nuclear site are to go on strike for the first time in a dispute over pay.
The announcement comes after more than 60 GMB union members voted for the strike as talks between the union and Sellafield Ltd “broke down”.
GMB claims Sellafield made an offer, which had already been rejected by the firefighters previously and which “failed to address the dispute over pay grading that has been going on for several years”.
The union also claims the firefighters have been performing roles “above and beyond what they are paid to do” – such as paramedic work.
Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser said: “The fact that it has taken several years to get to the point where firefighters will now strike confirms this is a measure of last resort. GMB members have been more than patient in trying to achieve the financial recognition they deserve.
“Members are so angry they have given a mandate for the earliest possible strike date later this month, the first time ever that Sellafield’s highly trained firefighter service have gone on strike.”
A date for the first strike is expected to be announced on Monday.
Sellafield said GMB members rejected its offer of an additional task-based payment equivalent to a 5% increase in basic pay and have made a formal claim for a 12% rise.
A spokesperson added: “Our firefighters are currently paid £43,007, inclusive of shift allowance, for working the equivalent of 37 hours a week. Civil firefighters around the UK are paid £29,638 for a 42-hour week, with no extra pay for shifts.
“We have already entered into commercial arrangements with a third party to ensure that safety is maintained and that the public, workforce and environment are protected at all times.”