Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment launched a 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Prospect union walked out until 7am today Thursday January 25, mounting picket lines outside the site in Aldermaston, Berkshire, which supports and maintains the UK nuclear deterrent.

The workers previously voted heavily in favour of industrial action in protest at a 6% pay offer.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “Our members at AWE have been left with no option but to take this action after years of stagnating pay.

“It is simply unbelievable that within the organisation responsible for maintaining our nuclear deterrent people are struggling with the basic cost of living.

“We have also seen a disappointing lack of proper engagement from the employer, typified by the pay offer being presented as a done deal, with no rationale given for the number, nor any space for negotiation.

“If the Ministry of Defence and AWE don’t think again and make a pay offer that reflects the still rocketing cost of living, there is a real risk that AWE will struggle to recruit and retain the skills that it needs.”

A spokesman for AWE said it is “disappointed” about the strike and that “pre-planned contingency measures” will be in place.