Staff working on the construction of Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset are to be balloted on strike action after a pay offer was rejected. The unions are in a longstanding dispute with EDF Energy over the different rates of pay among workers.EDF said it was disappointed as the terms and conditions were “superior” within the UK construction industry.In June, a ballot for strike action was averted after an interim agreement on bonus payments was agreed.This agreement was extended into September, while both sides hoped to reach a permanent agreement.The union says one of the issues is that the pay rates for workers on civil engineering contracts are “significantly below” the rates of workers covered by the mechanical and engineering (M&E) contract.Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “Members have made their views clear; the unions warned the amount of money being offered was not sufficient and this has proved to be the case.”The client and contractors need to understand that this is a high profile, complex project, built in a tightly controlled secure zone, which is being built in an isolated part of the UK. “It cannot and will not be built on the cheap.”HPC programme and construction delivery director Nigel Cann said the offer was “both fair and reasonable”.He added that it offered “workers an increase in basic pay as well as a bonus rate and other benefits that allows Hinkley Point C to attract, retain and reward the skilled workforce needed to build this important part of the UK’s infrastructure”. Hinkley Point C is expected to be operational in 2025.
Source: BBC Somerset