Berkshire

Atomic Weapons Establishment strike begins

AWE Aldermaston Image copyright Ivaneol
Image caption The Unite union members employed at the company's Aldermaston and Burghfield sites in Berkshire walked out at 00.01 GMT on Monday

Around 600 workers at Britain's Trident warhead factory have begun a 48-hour strike over a long-running pensions dispute.

Unite union members at the Atomic Weapons Establishment's Berkshire sites walked out at 00.01 GMT on Monday.

They claim "iron-clad promises" about their pensions were broken after the scheme was moved from the government to the private sector in the 1990s.

An AWE spokesman said it was "committed to holding discussions" with the union.

The spokesman added: "The safety and security of AWE staff and the general public remains our top priority.

"We have undertaken detailed contingency planning and have resilient measures in place to deal with industrial action."

It is the second time Unite members have gone on strike at the factories in Aldermaston and Burghfield this month.

The union's regional officer, Bob Middleton, said "confidence is high" that they can "win the dispute".

He said: "We need to maintain the pressure on the Ministry of Defence, so our members are given the opportunity to rejoin the MoD's principal civil service pension scheme."

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