Engineering construction workers building the UK’s next fleet of nuclear power plants could be in line for a special “nuclear supplement” to their wages after union members agreed a new three-year pay deal.
The deal was confirmed yesterday by the National Joint Council for the Engineering Construction Industry (NJC) and included the introduction of a “new nuclear supplementary payment” which could cover workers at Hinkley Point C and other future nuclear new-builds.
The arrangement will come into force if, as expected, nuclear clients agree to adopt the NJC’s national agreement (NAECI) for their projects.
The national agreement covers 8,600 engineering construction workers and applies to major engineering construction projects across the UK, such as oil and gas, petro-chemical and energy schemes.
As part of the deal, a nuclear working party will be set up to cover engineering construction workers at other proposed nuclear sites, such as the Wylfa plant in Anglesey.
Union members from Unite and the GMB voted 66.8 per cent in support of the package, which would see engineering construction workers’ pay rise by 6 per cent over the next three years.
The deal was submitted to the NJC by the Engineering Construction Industry Association, the industry body that works with unions to represent engineering construction workers on issues such as pay and training.
It will come into effect from 1 January 2016.
In the final agreement put forward by the ECIA in agreement with the unions, ECIA managing director Michael Hockey wrote: “We acknowledge that the landscape has been altered by the development of [the] Hinkley Point agreement and, notwithstanding the viability of the Hinkley Point C project, we would support the establishment of a joint working party to consider the appropriate working arrangements and we commit to a nuclear supplementary pay deal.”
The agreement comes two weeks after EDF agreed terms with funding partner China General Nuclear Corporation on a strategic investment agreement that will see EDF take a 66.5 per cent stake in the multi-billion-pound nuclear project, with CGN taking 33.5 per cent.
The deal paved the way for construction to begin at the Somerset plant, with work potentially starting before the end of the year.
Commenting on the deal, Unite national officer and secretary of the National Engineering Construction Committee Bernard McAulay said: “This agreement is essential in delivering the next generation of low-carbon energy projects across the UK, which are crucial in facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy by 2030 while providing employment opportunities for the next generation of highly skilled engineering construction workers.”
“The talks have been challenging in an extremely difficult economic climate. This three-year settlement shows the commitment of the signatory parties to continue to uphold the founding principles and values of direct employment under the terms and conditions of the national agreement.