Mitie workers are due to begin industrial action at Sellafield in a row over pay.

Members of Unite the Union, who include security guards, cleaning, catering and vending staff, were due to strike over pay from Friday for 10 days, but decided to put off the start date until today.

The dispute, which also involves laundry and environmental operatives, is a result of Unite’s 180 members rejecting Mitie’s pay offer, with workers receiving £8.45 an hour. Unite’s members voted by 98 per cent in favour of strike action on a 70 per cent turnout.

A second 10-day strike beginning on May 4 until May 13, remains scheduled to go ahead if there is no resolution to the dispute, the union said.

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “Unite members are no longer going to accept rates below the real living wage, when undertaking challenging roles on a maximum security site.”

A spokeswoman for Mitie said: "GMB is the only recognised union on our soft services contract at Sellafield. This continues to be a constructive relationship.

"Following recent successful pay negotiations with the GMB, we have increased hourly rates for employees on both contracts. These offers were accepted following a ballot of GMB union members.

“We are arranging cover to ensure the normal continuation of services across the sites and minimalise any potential disruption."

Police have warned of potential traffic disruption due to the strike and asked motorists to plan their journeys accordingly.