Prospect ballots members at AWE on industrial action over pay

19 October 2022

Prospect will ballot its members on industrial action over pay at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).


Headquartered in Aldermaston, Berkshire, AWE supports and maintains the UK nuclear deterrent. The ballot opens on 24th October and will run for two weeks. Unite union will also be balloting about the same issue.

AWE recently became an arms-length body of the MOD with the associated freedoms on pay awards but has offered an increase of just 5% which members have formally rejected. An additional lump sum payment averaging £780 has also been offered. At best the combined offer is 7% in the context of RPI being 11.8% at the pay review date of June.

This offer does not address a real-terms reduction in pay. With no further movement forthcoming from AWE there was no option but to move to a formal ballot.

Prospect has warned repeatedly that unless pay problems are addressed the recruitment and retention issues affecting AWE will continue and it will struggle to maintain the skill levels needed. AWE already pays for a large number of expensive contractors and loses a high number of staff and graduates to other employers.

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, said:

“Several years of deteriorating workforce engagement and stagnating pay against inflation, has left workers at AWE with no option but to move towards industrial action.

“Safely maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent is a complex and highly stressful operation that requires an extremely high level of dedication and training at all levels. It should attract a commensurate level of pay and respect, for these staff who keep the country safe. Staff are struggling with the basic costs of living which is unacceptable in the context of this employer and its funding.

“This is not a workforce that can bear a high level of churn while safely functioning – the jobs simply require too high a degree of training. If the MoD and AWE don’t think again and make a pay offer that reflects the rocketing cost of living, there is a real risk that AWE will struggle to recruit and retain the skills that it needs.”

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