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Capenhurst nuclear site firefighters announce 25 hour strike

GMB union says the strike will start at 6am next Wednesday

Urenco uranium enrichment plant in Capenhurst

Firefighters at the Capenhurst nuclear site will go on strike for 25 hours next week in a fight for their jobs.

Coincidentally, 25 male and female emergency response and rescue staff at the Urenco uranium enrichment plant are at risk of redundancy.

The GMB union says the strike will run between 6am on Wednesday (October 26) and 7am the next day.

Regional officer Albie McGuigan said the duration of the strike was to cause maximum disruption while spreading the impact equally across members as striking staff would lose pay.

He said: “Firefighters potentially risk their lives by rushing into buildings when somebody needs rescuing. To be treated in this way is rotten to tell you the truth.”

Mr McGuigan said the mood was “extremely angry” as reflected in the 92% vote in favour of strike action.

He understands the redundancies are the result of Urenco concluding the current level of service provided by Babcock International is no longer required and instead there will be a reliance on the county fire brigade.

There are plans to create 12-15 security jobs with fire marshal responsibilities but the GMB says workers would be on reduced pay.

The GMB says two fire engines would be retained but the fire marshals could not tackle blazes, perform rescues, work at height, enter confined spaces or use breathing apparatus.

They would be tasked with containing incidents until Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service arrived on scene which could lead to delays in the emergency response.

Aside from preventing risk to life, the union says the in-house service has a vital role in protecting the multi-million pound plant and equipment.

In addition to providing a response service, the union says the current workforce carries out daily checks that help prevent incidents occurring in the first place.

The Chronicle has asked Urenco for a statement on the strike.

Spokesman Neil Fagan said previously: “Urenco UK Limited, in line with its nuclear license, conduct an annual review of safety and security for all areas of the business. The overall aim is to ensure that the incident response capability is effective and efficient against current and known future requirements.

“The results of the review have been communicated to Babcock International who currently supply fire and incident response teams to the Capenhurst site. Any proposals to changes in these services will be discussed in co-ordination with Babcock.”

Babcock International has declined to comment.



David Holmes
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