Prospect members at AWE vote for industrial action

23 October 2023

Prospect union members at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) have voted strongly in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Headquartered in Aldermaston, Berkshire, AWE supports and maintains the UK nuclear deterrent.

67% of respondents voted in favour of strike action, with 33% voting against. 82% voted in favour of action short of a strike, 18% voted against. Turnout was 61%, well over the legal threshold.

AWE recently became an arms-length body of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the associated freedoms on pay awards but the company refused to negotiate and presented a full and final offer of just 6% which fell well below expectations. The employer refused to explain why it would not entertain negotiations.

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.

The exact nature and timing of industrial action will be determined after consultation with members.

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, said:

“Our members at AWE have been left with no option but to take this action after years of stagnating pay.

“It is simply unbelievable that within the organisation responsible for maintaining our nuclear deterrent, people are struggling with the basic cost-of-living.

“We have also seen a disappointing lack of proper engagement from the employer, typified by the pay offer being presented as a done deal, with no rationale given for the number, nor any space for negotiation.

“If the MoD and AWE don’t think again and make a pay offer that reflects the still 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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