Negotiators at EDF Energy have averted strikes at its lucrative British nuclear business, agreeing to hand about 3,000 workers a 2.5 per cent pay rise and lump sum bonus.
Union leaders had privately warned that engineers, safety experts and radiation monitors could strike over a 2 per cent offer earlier this year.
The French energy giant has bumped up the salary and overtime increases and backdated payments to the start of July, while workers can expect a £450 lump sum in their October pay packets.
“By moving on from the below-inflation 2 per cent offer EDF had avoided an industrial dispute,” said a source close to the company.
EDF had also tried to bundle negotiations of its three core UK businesses – the others are coal generation and retail – when traditionally they had been handled separately. Ultimately, negotiations were divided, with nuclear arguably the most important and trickiest to handle. Nuclear electricity generation is already lucrative, making £1.7bn across eight sites, including Hartlepool in the North-East and Hunterston B on Scotland’s west coast, in 2012. The division will become even more important to EDF should the group finally agree terms with the Government on the construction of a new £14bn station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which should kick-start a wave of nuclear plants across the country.
n The fate of the private sector consortium that has overseen delays and spiralling costs to clean up Cumbria’s Sellafield is expected to be decided at the end of this week.
It is believed that Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) – a consortium made up of URS of California, France’s Areva and FTSE 100 group Amec – will be handed a short new contract to replace its existing five-year deal.
However, it is thought this will contain a clause that would see the contract immediately stripped from the group if there are any more major failures.