Power workers' pay offer brings rise of up to 12%

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The Independent Online
MORE than 5,500 workers in the privatised power industry have been offered pay increases of up to 12 per cent - eight times higher than the public sector pay limit.

Staff on the lowest grades at the National Grid, now owned by the 12 regional electricity companies, are to receive the biggest rises under a deal recommended by union leaders.

Clerical grades, on pounds 8,500, will get an additional pounds 1,036, most of which will be made up of 'unconsolidated' lump sums.

Junior management will get around 9 per cent and the most senior employees 6.5 per cent on the same basis.

The basic pay offer is worth just under 3 per cent, but lump sum payments in return for the acceptance of a new bargaining package will add between pounds 700 and pounds 900 to wage packets. No one will get less than 3.95 per cent.

Both management and unions pointed out yesterday that the industry is now in private hands and negotiations were free of all government interference.

Ministers, however, have urged industry to emulate the 1.5 per cent limit they have introduced for workers paid out of the public purse.

Sol Meade, Nalgo's negotiating officer, said the deal reflected the high profitability of the electricity companies. The pay offer, on grades ranging from pounds 7,160 to pounds 38,588, will be backdated to 1 February and employees will be voting next month on whether to accept it.

Ford was again hit by disruption as hundreds of normally moderate foremen at Dagenham and Southampton walked out in protest at the threat of compulsory

redundancies.

Ford told union leaders last week that hourly-paid staff would not be made compulsorily redundant, but it did not extend the assurance to white-collar employees.

The company is due to meet Manufacturing Science Finance union leaders next week for talks over job losses, but one union official said foremen at Dagenham and Southampton had been 'champing at the bit' to take industrial action before then.

A spokesman for Ford regretted the industrial action and said that it was only 157 short of its target for shedding white-collar jobs which it still hoped to achieve voluntarily.

Jim Thomas, chief Ford negotiator for MSF, said: 'It is offensive of the company to give an assurance to hourly-paid staff but not extend it to white-collar workers.'

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