Workers at Dounreay are to begin balloting for industrial action amid an ongoing pay dispute.
The GMB, Prospect and Unite unions rejected a proposed 1% pay increase in October, claiming that staff weren’t benefiting from increased profit margins.
Now members are preparing to hold a ballot considering potential industrial action.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) has insisted that the pay offer was in line with increases across the industry and is above inflation.
However, this is disputed by the coalition of unions who say that the pay offer is lower than what has been offered by the former nuclear plant’s parent body Cavendish Dounreay Partnership (CDP) elsewhere around the country.
CDP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the multinational Babcock International Group and has a 50% stake in DSRL, which employs the majority of staff working to decommission DOunreay.
Sandra Owsnett, the DSRL trade union co-ordinating committee chairwoman said “This is the lowest pay offer that has been made to the workforce since CDP were awarded the contract to decommission the site, yet, over the same period, CDP’s profits have increased substantially.
“The 1% offer is not in line with other parts of the nuclear industry, or even Cavendish Nuclear and other Babcock businesses in Scotland, which have all secured better offers.”
“CDP is a private consortium, yet it would appear that DSRL, even though it is a private sector organisation, has been made to follow the public sector pay guidance and the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) have imposed the 1% limit upon them.
“Yet we know that the NDA is allowing other costs on site to grow by more than 1%”.
“If the public purse is under pressure, then why are the NDA enabling private consortiums such as CDP to increase their profits, by millions of pounds year on year?
“These profits are before the inflated salaries and charges for staff not directly employed by DRSL are added in”.
A spokeswoman for DSRL 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. “