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Alstom accused of nuclear plant staff breach

A ROW has blown up over the employment status of more than 100 men working at the Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent.

Electrical and engineering union AEEU claims that Alstom, which is carrying out maintenance work on the reactor's gas circulators for client British Energy, is breaking the Blue Book agreement by setting up men as individual contractors rather than directly employing them.

The men have all been working on the Unit 21 outage - where a reactor is shut down and given a periodic service - since September.

Work on the 10-week contract is scheduled to finish shortly.

An AEEU regional organiser said: 'We're very unhappy about this. This is a blatant breach of the agreement and without precedent on a major outage contract.'

of ficials from the AEEU were due to meet Alstom bosses yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) at the central London of fices of the Engineering Construction Industry Association in a bid to defuse the situation.

An Alstom spokesman said he was confident the bust-up would be resolved by the end of the week. He said: 'I can't see a problem but we will listen to what they have to say. I am sure that we will come up with something positive between us.'