WORKERS at a Scottish nuclear power plant have voted to go on strike next month.

The Prospect union said that members at Dounreay – a complex in the Highlands near Thurso which is in the process of being decommissioned – will walk out for two days on May 1 and May 2 for the “first time in a generation” due to a pay dispute.

Unite the union also confirmed today that its 460-strong membership employed by Nuclear Restoration Services Limited (NRS) – previously Magnox Limited – based at Dounreay will also take strike action in a pay dispute on the same two dates, as well as May 15 and May 29.

The workers are tasked with the clean-up of the Caithness complex, which operated as a nuclear plant from 1955 until 1994.

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It is now a site of construction, demolition and waste management to decommission it for future generations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said it was “disgraceful that the management thought a substantial real terms pay cut is in any way acceptable”. 

The pay dispute centres on a pay offer of 4.5% effective from April 2023 which was overwhelmingly rejected by members. Unite’s NRS membership includes craft technicians, general operators, chemical and electrical engineers, and maintenance fitters and safety advisors.

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Marc Jackson, Unite industrial officer, added: “NRS is burying its head in the sand. We have repeatedly told them that our members will not accept a derisory pay offer. Instead of getting back round the negotiating table after our members emphatically backed strike action, NRS has continued to string the workforce along.

"The games being played by NRS are now at an end with the announcement of these strike days. This situation is entirely of NRS’ own making because this dispute could easily be resolved, by the employer making a fair pay offer to its workers.”

Richard Hardy, national secretary at Prospect, said it was “massively disappointing that we’ve reached this point” and also took aim at the plant’s management.

He said: “Dounreay management and other public sector bodies with oversight of Dounreay have had a number of opportunities to resolve this dispute, but for whatever reason have failed to grasp them.

"Our members do not take these steps lightly, but their resolve should not be underestimated.”