Prospect to ballot members at AWE on industrial action

1 September 2023

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

Headquartered in Aldermaston, Berkshire, AWE supports and maintains the UK nuclear deterrent. The ballot opens on 1st September and will run for two weeks.

AWE recently became an arms-length body of the 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.

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, said:

“Several years of deteriorating workforce engagement and stagnating real-terms pay has left workers at AWE with no option but to move once again towards industrial action.

“The lack of proper engagement has been typified by management presenting the offer as a done deal, with no rationale given for the number, nor any space for negotiation.

“Staff are struggling with the basic costs of living which is simply unbelievable in the organisation that is building and maintaining our nuclear deterrent.

“This is not a workforce that can bear a high level of churn while safely functioning – the jobs require too high a degree of training. 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.”

Ballot will run from 1st September to 15th September.

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