Prospect members were joined by Unite colleagues in the two-hour walkout, that saw nearly 90% of Harwell’s 160 employees take part in the dispute.
Colleagues at the Winfrith nuclear site, Dorset – the other half of the company’s Magnox South Sites division – will take part in a similar 10.30am walkout tomorrow.
The strikes will be followed by continuous action short of a strike, including working to terms and conditions of employment and to contractual hours of attendance.
Today’s protest went ahead despite a last-minute deal tabled by management. The unions were asked to cancel the strike in favour of a members’ meeting to discuss the new offer.
But members voted overwhelmingly to show their anger at how the pay talks have been handled. Magnox Ltd is proposing to use already earned performance-related pay awards to fund the annual claim.
Prospect negotiator Richard Tabbner said: “Members are furious and want a credible explanation why they cannot have parity with their wider Magnox colleagues.
“Even though the employer finally returned to the negotiating table today, the new deal contains no new money. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul by dividing the existing pay evenlope. Management should expect tomorrow’s action at Winfrith to be equally well supported.”
RSRL and Magnox Limited merged on 1 April 2015 to form a single organisation operating as Magnox Limited.
But despite senior Magnox managers pushing the “one company ethos” at the former RSRL sites, staff in Harwell and Winfrith have been offered 1.2%, while those at the other Magnox sites received 1.6%.
Prospect argues that the 1.2% increase will compound significant pay ‘gaps’ that already exist between equivalent roles. In the worse cases, some Magnox South Sites staff will receive nearly £10k less than colleagues on comparable grades.
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