EDF Energy and unions reach agreement on Hinkley Point C
EDF Energy, the GMB and Unite trade unions have reached a major new labour agreement for workers who will build the proposed new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.
The agreement applies to electrical and mechanical workers who will work on the project. It confirms their pay and conditions of employment, including welfare facilities and training.
This latest milestone follows the signing of similar agreements with unions in June 2013 for civil workers, as well as an overarching agreement establishing the framework for industrial relations for the project.
Together, the agreements play their part in EDF Energy's commitment to work together with unions and contractors to create a climate for positive industrial relations which promotes safety, quality and productivity.
Having put these agreements in place now is an important step towards ensuring the project is ready for delivery. It demonstrates a partnership approach between EDF Energy, unions and contractors and their joint commitment to the success of the project.
Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive, EDF Energy, said:
“This groundbreaking agreement reflects the importance that we place on partnerships with our employees and with trade unions to help deliver the UK’s first new nuclear power in a generation.
“Hinkley Point C has the potential to create 25,000 job opportunities in the UK during its construction, including over 400 apprentices, and it will create 900 jobs when operational.
It is important that these jobs are covered by an agreement promoting the very best standards in industrial relations. I am pleased that EDF Energy, Unite and GMB will work together to provide a high class work force for the construction of Hinkley Point C and help rebuild the nation’s nuclear industry.”
Hinkley Point C Construction Director Nigel Cann said:
"The signing of this engineering construction agreement is another big step for Hinkley Point C and reflects the strength of the partnership we have with Trade Unions and the companies in our supply chain.
"We all share a commitment to providing high quality employment standards, hand in hand with the best standards in health, safety, quality and productivity. This upfront collaboration gives us confidence that once we start construction, we will be able to continue without stopping.
"The collective agreements for the Hinkley Point C project like this one will also help make possible one of our fundamental objectives - to bring in new entrants to the construction workforce from the local community and to support them in acquiring new skills. This will not only help local people to raise their aspirations and to progress their careers, it will also make a significant contribution to replenishing and developing the UK industrial skills base."
Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: "This is a cutting edge agreement for a cutting edge new nuclear project at Hinkley Point.
"It has taken many months to get the detail right but through hard work and cooperation the unions and employers have an agreement which is fit for a 21st century development to power Britain's homes and businesses.
"This agreement sets a new benchmark for pay, conditions and apprenticeships. It ensures there are at least 500 well paid apprenticeships on the project which is a massive opportunity for young people to get a skill for life. It also commits to direct employment and no agency workers which ensures the workforce are more secure and enjoy equal treatment."
Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer said:
“This ‘Best in Class’ agreement between EDF Energy, GMB and Unite was submitted with a recommendation of acceptance to the Engineering Construction sector shop stewards, who “unanimously” endorsed that recommendation. This now paves the way for the agreement to be signed off. A similar civil construction agreement is already agreed and signed off.
“These agreements are ground breaking not only in the increased levels of pay terms and conditions compared to other agreements in the UK construction Industry, but they are bound together by a “Common Framework/Social covenant” agreement which is good solid industrial relations foundation, which binds all the agreements together, this will enhance good site wide working relationships between the trade unions, the client, and their sub-contractors, which the GMB will work fastidiously to maintain for its members.
“GMB welcome EDF Energy's intentions to buy into the need for investment, not only in the present workforce with up-skilling, but in traditional apprentices, with proper pathways of learning to obtain their skills, these apprentices will help replace our already ageing workforce, and ensure the traditional mainline construction skills are maintained in the UK, this is a very refreshing concept, a far better result than the dark years of lack of investment by recent generations of governments and construction employers.”
The construction of Hinkley Point C would be a major boost to the UK supply chain, and to the local national economies. Around 25,000 jobs expected to be created during construction including around 5,000 people working on-site at the peak of construction and 900 permanent jobs once the power station goes into operation.