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Nuke threat might save the Blue Book

AGENDA - COMMENT

UNION leaders are playing a clever hand with their negotiations to save the engineering construction sector's Naeci agreement.

The future of the 'Blue Book' has been in doubt since employers questioned its relevance during this year's pay negotiations.

But the unions are being cute by warning the Government that an end to the Naeci will threaten Prime Minister Tony Blair's not-so-secret nuclear building plans.

The Blue Book has been a stabilising force in engineering construction for more than 25 years so the Government will not want to see it ripped up as it gets ready to embark on a major power plant building programme.

Nuclear work will be controversial enough without having projects dogged by industr ial disputes and stoppages, so the future looks far from blue for the Naeci.