Feb 8, 2023
Workers at Major Power Station to Strike, Threatening Electricity Supplies
(Bloomberg) -- Operators at one of the UK’s largest power generation facilities are set to begin a series of strikes this month over a wage dispute.
A walkout by 180 workers at Drax Group Plc’s power station in Yorkshire, which produces 6% of the country’s electricity, will begin on Feb. 20 and 27 with further dates over the following two months, according to a statement from the Unite union.
The company previously offered an 8% pay rise which the workers rejected, citing the UK’s double-digit inflation rate. Drax said the offer was worth 10% as it would include a backdated period.
The strike call at Drax’s power plant comes amid the worst industrial unrest in Britain in over 30 years with nurses, ambulance staff, railway employees and school teachers walking out and demanding higher wages.
“The strike action at Drax will inevitably cause considerable strain on the national grid but this dispute is completely of the company’s own making,” said Shane Sweeting, Unite’s regional officer. Following this month’s industrial action, the workers will walk out again on March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 4, 10, 17.
Read More: UK Worker Unrest Grows as Unions Get a Taste for Mass Strikes
A Drax spokesperson said the company had drawn up plans for the plant’s uninterrupted operation in case of a strike.
“We are deeply disappointed that Unite is planning to go forward with this unnecessary action which will see colleagues lose money instead of securing a significant pay rise,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Read More: London’s Power Grid at Risk from Union’s Strike Threat
The station at Drax is one of the UK’s largest power generation facilities, with two coal and four biomass-fired units amounting to almost four gigawatts. The closing of its coal units, initially planned for last year, was delayed to this spring to ensure that the grid had extra capacity to help with cold snaps during winter.
Meanwhile, operators of Drax’s hydropower stations in Scotland are also set to vote on a potential strike.
It comes after workers at UK Power Networks Holdings Ltd. announced they would start balloting for strike action next month, potentially affecting the grid in London and the southeast of England.
(Adds detail on the company’s pay offer and coal-powered units.)
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