A strike by workers at the Sellafield nuclear site is to go ahead after the company was accused of “going cold” on trying to reach a pay deal.
Members of the Unite union, including maintenance staff and engineers, will stage a 24-hour walkout from 6am on Tuesday, with further action threatened.
The union blamed “the unseen hand” of Government ministers for the failure to break the deadlocked row over a “completely unacceptable” imposed pay rise of 1.5%.
Unite said it will maintain a skeleton staff during the strike.
Regional officer Graham Williams said: “The Sellafield bosses appear to have adopted a new hardline attitude on the pay talks which we believe is being orchestrated by
the unseen hands of Government ministers who are pulling the strings behind the scenes.
“We had talks with management which were very positive, but a week later the atmosphere had dramatically changed – it was as if the shutters had come down.
“The strike is a shot across the bows and more strikes are on the cards in the run-up to Christmas if the management does not engage in constructive talks.”
A Sellafield spokesman said: “As always, the safety and security of the Sellafield site, our workforce and the community are our priorities during this industrial action.
“We are working with Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council’s highways team to try to minimise disruption.
“However, strikes by their nature are designed to cause disruption and people should expect traffic problems while pickets are in place.
“We have taken all steps available to us to minimise disruption including opening all access gates and advising staff on steps they can take to help.”