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Pay rise offer is not good enough, say Dounreay staff

By Will Clark

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INDUSTRIAL action could take place at Dounreay after union members overwhelmingly rejected a one per cent pay increase offered by bosses at the site.

GMB, Prospect and Unite carried out a ballot which saw a huge turnout vote against the pay rise which was offered by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL).

The offer was rejected by union members on the basis profits at the site have increased since DSRL’S parent body, Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, took over the running of the site and in 2015 recorded an increased profit of £9 million.

DSRL states it has made a fair offer and will look to hold further negotiations to strike a deal.

DSRL trade union co-ordinating committee chairwoman Sandra Owsnett said staff are unhappy with the pay rise offer and are considering taking industrial action.

“Staff are disappointed with the figure that has been offered and with the way the matter has been dealt with,” she said.

“We’ve got an indicative feeling that members are willing to take some form of industrial action as there is a feeling DSRL aren’t taking staff seriously. A survey is in the process of being carried out asking staff what type of action they would be willing to take. Afterwards we will organise the ballot which will determine what action will be taken. No date has been set but it might not take place until after New Year.”

Representatives from all three unions at the site have also condemned the pay offer, stating staff should be entitled to a better deal due to increasing profits.

GMB officer Liz Gordon said: “It’s our members who have created this profit for the PBO (parent body organisation) and we think it seems only fair and proper that they and DSRL recognise this with a decent pay award, rather than cutting members’ take-home pay and pocketing the profit.”

A Unite official said: “Our members at Dounreay have worked very hard to move the decommissioning project forward.

“Yet all they have seen are attacks on their pensions, conditions and now their pay – it is simply unacceptable.”

Prospect negotiator Richard Hardy said: “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.”

A spokeswoman for DSRL maintains the offer is a fair increase but will speak to trade unions to discuss the issue.

She said: “The pay offer that DSRL has made is comparable to recent nuclear decommissioning industry pay increases and is above inflation. We remain committed to engaging with the trade unions and staff but due to the sensitive nature of these negotiations, we are unable to comment further.”

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