New pay deal agreed with workers will allow work to progress at seven sites, including Sellafield

Widespread strikes that would have halted work on power station projects across the UK have been halted after workers agreed to a new pay deal.

The GMB union and Unite balloted workers at seven sites across the UK, including Sellafield in Cumbria, after the Engineering and Construction Industry Association (ECIA) came up with a new offer last week.

Earlier this year the ECIA proposed a pay freeze in 2010, which was subsequently rejected. It then offered a pay rise but this was also rejected by workers in September who demanded a higher increase along with a register of unemployed workers.

A new deal discussed with union officers and the ECIA last week proposed a two year wage deal, giving an increase of 2% for the first 12 months and a 1% minimum rise for the second year.

It also promised that any vacancies on existing sites or on long term repair and maintenance projects would be advertised to the local population for three days. They would then be advertised UK wide for a further two days before being advertised overseas.

Unions told members the register for unemployed workers had proven “difficult to implement due to UK anti-discrimination legislation”. However, the new agreement promised that a working party would be set up to “explore all possible ways a register could be set up”. This working party will report by June 2010.