Thu, 12 Jan 2017
AWE workers in Aldermaston and Burghfield will be striking for four days this month in an ongoing row over proposed pension changes.
The dispute centres around the threat to close the defined benefit pension scheme and substitute it with what unions are describing as an inferior alternative.
Six hundred employees, members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, will be staging the walk outs for 48 hours from Wednesday January 18 and again for 48 hours from Monday January 30.
AWE bosses plan to close the defined benefit scheme on January 31 and replace it with a defined contribution one, where the final retirement income is not guaranteed.
Unite regional officer Bob Middleton said: “It was in the House of Commons in the early 1990s that the then-Tory government made copper-bottomed promises to AWE workers regarding the future of their pensions, once they transferred to the private sector.
“The four days of strike action later this month are not being taken lightly. It is not a ‘political’ strike, but one taken reluctantly by our members who have no desire to see thousands of pounds wiped off their retirement incomes.”
Unite members have voted by 92 per cent for strike action and by 97 per cent for industrial action short of a strike. They have already held two days of strike action on November 14 and December 6, 2016.
Currently, AWE scheme members pay ten per cent of their salary into the scheme and the employer pays 26 per cent.
Under the AWE’s new proposals, employees will be able to pay from three per cent to eight per cent or more; with AWE paying from nine per cent (if an employee pays three per cent) to 13 per cent (if an employee pays eight per cent or more).
AWE plc, which employs about 4,000 people, is a consortium of two American-owned companies Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering, and UK-listed Serco.