Potential strike action among hundreds of construction workers building the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station has been averted after workers overwhelmingly voted for an improved pay deal.
The construction unions GMB and Unite had been preparing for strike action since members overwhelmingly voted last month to reject the previous offer.
The client EDF and the main contractor BYLOR (the principal contractor Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues TP) then proposed a revised offer.
Under the revised offer workers will be receiving pay levels that are up to 36 per cent above the minimum pay rates agreed by the Construction Industry Joint Council (the principal national agreement for the civil engineering sector).
By incorporating a large amount of the previous bonus payments into the basic rate, workers will see holiday pay, overtime rates and pension contributions increase.
Workers will also receive back pay from the period between 1 January 2017 and 31 May 2017, when the interim bonus scheme was introduced.
The dispute had been rumbling since the spring and concerned the pay of workers undertaking the civil engineering side of the project.
There are over a 1,000 workers engaged on the civil engineering project at Hinkley Point and the development is the largest construction site in Europe.
Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer, said:
"GMB members have voted, in a very positive and responsible manner, to accept EDF's final offer.
"The employers side in the negotiation should have declared their hand way before January 2017, but chose to take it to the wire.
“This could have resulted in a trade dispute which would have had devastating consequences to this prestigious project.
"Let's now hope that an open and transparent relationship will precipitate from this on the civil construction phase of HPC."
Adie Baker, GMB regional officer, said:
“GMB members can concentrate on the future now this long running dispute, which had threatened to disrupt progress on the project, has been resolved.
“We will now ensure the negotiated agreements are fully implemented and those members eligible for back payments receive every penny that they are entitled to.”
Unite regional secretary, Peter Hughes said:
“This is a landmark agreement which will now set the benchmark for pay rates on flagship construction projects throughout the UK.
“The pay rates agreed at Hinkley Point will provide a significant boost to the local economy and together with the ambitious apprenticeship programme on the project, will generate much needed skills boost and investment in the south west region.
“The determination of EDF to broker a deal was critical in ensuring the pay negotiations were satisfactorily resolved.”
Unite’s lead convenor at Hinkley Point Malcolm Davies said:
"The negotiations have been protracted but the unity of the workers on the project has ensured that we have finally arrived at a pay deal which properly financially rewards the workforce.
“Unite will continue to ensure that workers at Hinkley are treated fairly and decently and hopefully we are now entering a period of industrial harmony.”
Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org