Britain’s Drax says power plants would still run during strike action

FILE PHOTO: Sunset over Drax power station in North Yorkshire

LONDON (Reuters) - Power plants operated by British generator Drax will still be able to operate if strike action by Unite union workers go ahead later this month, the company said on Wednesday.

Workers across a range of sectors in Britain have gone on strike in recent months, from rail workers to teachers, nurses to lawyers, as inflation, which hit a record high last year, squeezes household budgets.

Drax’s power plants can make up around 7% of Britain’s electricity supply.

“In the event of industrial action, Drax has robust plans in place to ensure the power station continues to safely generate renewable electricity for millions of homes and businesses,” a spokesperson for Drax said.

The company dismissed claims made by the Unite union that the industrial action could lead to power cuts in the country.

Unite has announced nine days of strike action taking place on Feb. 20 and 27 and then March 6, 13, 20 and 27 and April 4, 10 and 17 after its workers rejected an 8% pay increase which it said represents real terms pay cut.

“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,” Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said.

Drax said its offer included a 2,000 pound ($2,418) lump sum and was worth 10% including 3 months of backdated pay rises.

Unite represents just over half of Drax’s 471 production staff, Drax said.

($1 = 0.8270 pounds)

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale, Editing by Louise Heavens)