Unrest grows at Caithness nuclear site


Unrest grows at Caithness nuclear decommissioning site

The prospect of industrial unrest at the Dounreay nuclear decommissioning site in Caithness is growing after DSRL, the company which employs most of the staff working there, indicated it was not prepared to increase its 1% pay offer to staff.

Nuclear decommissioning

DSRL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of its parent body organisation (PBO), Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, a consortium which makes significant profit out of its operations at Dounreay. These profits have significantly increased year on year since it took ownership of DSRL. In 2015, the last year for which accounts are available, the PBO increased its profit to more than £9m.

In contrast to this increasing profit margin, the below-inflation 1% increase offered to DSLR staff effectively means their pay will shrink. The impact of suppressing wages for the hundreds of staff employed by DSRL will not just impact those at the site but will feed through to businesses across Caithness and Sutherland as our members have less money to spend.

Prospect negotiator Richard Hardy said: “Quite simply, money that is being created in Caithness is being counted in California and Colorado. Our members are working hard to decommission the site, yet much of the money this generates is flowing out of Caithness and Sutherland, reducing the economic benefit for the local community. Everybody should get a share of the profits, not just the shareholders."

Sandra Owsnett, the DSRL trade union co-ordinating committee chair, added: "It is our firm belief that the offer of 1% falls far short of members' expectations. We do not believe DSRL have made any serious attempts to address members’ concerns and this has been made clear during the negotiations.”