Unions representing construction workers at Hinkley Point are hopeful that the dispute over bonus payments can be resolved after fresh talks were promised.
The unions involved (GMB and Unite) conducted a consultative ballot of their members at the site last week, on whether to accept the proposed bonus offered by BYLOR (a consortium led by Laing O’Rourke and which also involves French company Bouygues TP).
Members of both unions overwhelmingly rejected the proposed bonus, which is inadequate to attract the quality of workers needed to ensure that the civil works phase of the £18 billion project is completed on time.
The unions are now hopeful that fresh talks, which are currently being scheduled, will lead to an agreement and avert the need for industrial action.
The fresh talks are being tabled following the positive intervention of the client EDF.
Phil Whitehurst, GMB national officer for construction, said:
"Our members gave this derisory bonus offer the short shrift it deserved by overwhelmingly voting it down.
"If the companies want to avoid strike action, they need to make us a serious offer, which matches our members' skills level, when we get back round the table.
"If they don't, they could be facing an industrial dispute and delays to the whole Hinkley Point project.”
Unite acting national officer for construction Jerry Swain said:
“Members have overwhelmingly rejected BYLOR’s proposed bonus which in no way meets workers’ expectations or the requirements of the project.
“In the face of a looming industrial dispute the client has shown good sense and has stepped in to try to resolve the problem.
“It is hoped that when fresh negotiations commence BYLOR and in particular Laing O’Rourke are prepared to enter into practical discussions and a sensible bonus which meets the expectations of the workforce and ensures the project is delivered on time, can be agreed.”
Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org