Further disruption is expected at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) over the coming months as another 12 days of strikes have been announced.
Trade union Unite is locked in a long-running dispute with AWE – which produces the UK’s nuclear deterrent Trident at its sites in Aldermaston and Burghfield – over changes to the pension scheme, which came into force earlier this year.
A new ballot by Unite of more than 700 members saw 93 per cent vote for further industrial action, with the 12 new dates bringing the total number of strike days to 30 over the last seven months.
And Unite regional officer Bob Middleton has claimed that the strikes have caused “serious disruption” to the Trident programme.
He said: “Our members have overwhelmingly renewed their mandate for strike action.
“Their resolution has been further strengthened by figures that show the AWE consortium has chalked up £804million in profits between 2000 and 2015.
“We know that our members’ action has caused serious disruption to the production of the Trident warheads.
“The Tories bang on about the importance of the Trident programme to the UK’s defence, yet they seem blithely unconcerned about the retirement incomes of the workers that are instrumental in the production programme.”
The new dates planned for strikes are June 29, July 3, 13, 17 and 27, August 10, 14 and 24, and September 7, 11 and 21. Each would last for 24 hours.
A continuous overtime ban is also planned from June 29.
Unite is unhappy with the switch from a defined benefit pension scheme to a defined contribution scheme, which changes the way AWE contributes to workers’ pensions.
A statement from AWE said: “We have put in place a very competitive scheme which has been benchmarked against external comparators and puts the revised AWE scheme in the top 25 percentile.
“The safety and security of AWE staff and the general public continues to remain our top priority during periods of industrial action.
“We have undertaken detailed contingency planning and have resilient measures in place.
“We are actively seeking to re-engage with Unite to find a positive resolution to this dispute.”