Unions to meet to consider strike action for nuclear workers

Unions to meet on 9 January to consider strike action over £660m broken promises on pensions for 16,000 nuclear workers

05 January 2017

GMB, UNITE, PROSPECT AND ASLEF NUCLEAR INDUSTRY UNIONS MEETING ON MONDAY 9TH JANUARY TO CONSIDER STRIKE ACTION OVER £660M BROKEN PROMISES PENSIONS CUTS FOR 16,000 WORKERS

There is no justification for this attack on the pensions of these nuclear workers and their communities, these pension funds are in a sound state say GMB, Unite, Prospect and Aslef.

The GMB, Prospect, Unite and ASLEF/TSSA Unions representing workers in the nuclear sector are to meet in London on Monday 9th January over £660 million cuts to 16,000 nuclear workers’ pensions across 19 sites across the UK.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is starting a process of statutory consultation about proposed Government cuts to final salary pension benefits across the NDA estate from 9 January 2017 until Friday 10 March 2017.

The meeting will take place at GMB Offices, Euston at 11am on Monday 9th January and will involve senior nuclear trade union representatives from all over the country to discuss what action is required.

16,000 workers will be affected working for Sellafied (Cumbria), Magnox (Anglesey, Ayrshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Gwynedd, Kent, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Suffolk), Direct Rail Services (Cumbria), Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (Caithness), Low Level Waste Repository (Cumbria) and International Nuclear Services (Cumbria, Warrington). See notes to editors for a list of companies, sites and locations.

Government’s expectation is that the final salary pension schemes in place across the NDA estate will have been reformed by April 2018.

Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer for energy, said: “We are urging all our members working for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to resist this proposed Treasury-led ‘raid’ on their pensions – if it is allowed to go-ahead thousands of workers will see their retirement incomes slashed by thousands of pounds.

“It is blatantly clear that the NDA is the stalking horse for the government is which hell-bent in saving £660 million over the period of decommissioning. This assault on our members’ pensions is made all the more sour by the fact that the scheme is not in deficit. The NDA is the monkey to the government’s organ grinder in this sordid and unnecessary sleight of hand.

“Our members have already made big sacrifices since the last pension changes were imposed in 2008 – and enough is enough. Our members will be prepared to take determined industrial action to defend their hard-earned retirement incomes.”

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for the Nuclear Sector, said: “There is no justification for this attack on the pensions of these nuclear workers and their communities. These pension funds are in a sound state and underwent considerable reform 10 years ago.

“What the government are saying is that the privatised Site License Companies who run these nuclear facilities are in fact public sector organisations and therefore Sellafield, Dounreay and the Magnox Sites should go through the same reforms as the rest of the public sector itself.

“This is a point blank betrayal of the promises made by Margaret Thatcher to nuclear communities when the electricity industry was privatised in the 1990’s and the public sector-like pension being proposed would make it by far the worst across the public sector.”

Dai Hudd, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said: “Prospect members are some of the most highly skilled workers in the UK, indeed some number amongst the highest skilled engineers and scientists working in this field in the world. They commit to the development of ground breaking solutions to tackle one of human kinds greatest long term challenges. There can be no justification for these cuts to the future pensions of these workers.”

“The magnitude of the future cuts are in the order of £600m. There was a justified, public and political outcry when Phillip Green is accused of taking a similar figure of £580m from the pension fund of BHS, there should be no different reaction to this      Treasury inspired raid, on a scheme that is not in the public sector.

“The consultation, such that it is, inspires little confidence of our members. We will oppose detrimental changes to their terms, legally, politically and if necessary industrially. The forthcoming Copeland By-Election will be a key battle for these issues.”

Colin Smith, north-west district organiser for ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: “ASLEF will not stand by and be told that the pensions that we have secured through fair and equitable negotiations will be downgraded by a dogmatic approach via the government decision to carryout their ideology in attacking the Final Salary Pension scheme of our members.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

List of sites and depots

Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG

Magnox:

Berkeley Site
Berkeley,
Gloucestershire,
GL13 9PA

Bradwell Site
Bradwell on Sea
Southminster,
Essex,
CM0 7HP

Chapelcross Site
Annan,
Dumfriesshire,
DG12 6RF

Dungeness A Site
Romney Marsh,
Kent,
TN29 9PP

Harwell Site
Harwell Campus,
Didcot,
Oxfordshire,
OX11 0DF

Hinkley Point A Site
Nr Bridgwater,
Somerset,
TA5 1YA

Hunterston A Site
West Kilbride,
Ayrshire,
KA23 9RA

Oldbury Site
Oldbury Naite,
Thornbury,
South Gloucestershire,
BS35 1RQ

Sizewell A Site
Nr Leiston,
Suffolk,
IP16 4UE

Trawsfynydd Site
Blaenau Ffestiniog,
Gwynedd,
LL41 4DT

Winfrith Site
Winfrith Newburgh
Dorchester
Dorset
DT2 8WG

Wylfa Site
Cemaes,
Ynys Môn,
LL67 0DH

DRS
Direct Rail Services
Head Office
Regents Court
Baron Way
Carlisle
Cumbria
CA6 4SJ

DSRL
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd
Dounreay,
Thurso,
Caithness,
Scotland,
KW14 7TZ

LLWR
Low Level Waste Repository
Holmrook
Cumbria
CA19 1XP

Pelham House
Pelham Drive
Seascale
Cumbria CA20 1DB

INS
International Nuclear Services
Hinton House,
Birchwood Park Avenue,
Risley,
Warrington,
Cheshire WA3 6GR

Herdus House,
Westlakes Science & Technology Park,
Moor Row,
Cumbria,
CA24 3HU

2 The Government began the process of reforming pensions across the public sector in 2011. Since then it has transferred the vast majority of public sector employees (around 4 million workers) from final salary based schemes to new Career Average Earnings based pension arrangements.

3 Options being considered include Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) and a Pensionable Pay Cap. Under CARE, benefits at retirement are based on average earnings over career and length of membership of the scheme. If implemented this would take effect from 1 April 2018. A Pensionable Pay Cap would mean only a certain percentage of any salary increases would be included in the calculation of pensionable pay. If implemented this would take effect from 1 April 2017.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

– See more at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/unions-meeting-on-monday-9th-january-to-consider-strike-action-over-660m-broken-promises-pensions-cuts-for-16000-workers/#sthash.yg3qDqmN.dpuf

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