PowerGen offers 4.5% rise

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Powergen yesterday ignored the Government's pay limit of 1.5 per cent and offered its 5,000 employees an increase of nearly 4.5 per cent, writes Barrie Clement.

The privatised company - the second biggest electricity generator - is 40 per cent owned by the state. Ministers have let it be known that private companies should also follow the Government's lead in keeping the lid on wages. The offer by PowerGen comes at a time when the going rate in industry is nearer 3 per cent. National Power, the largest power generator, offered its workers 3.95 per cent.

The proposed PowerGen deal gives an increase of 2.5 per cent on salaries, but also includes lump sums varying between pounds 250 and pounds 550. The offer would add 4.47 per cent to the pay bill, compared with last year's 3.5 per cent settlement.

Frank Chapman, chief union negotiator at the company, insisted that his members were employed by a private concern. 'We have to bargain on the ability of this company to pay. It's fair and reasonable,' he said.