Letter: 'Rise' for PowerGen staff includes bonus

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The Independent Online
Sir: Barrie Clement's story about PowerGen's pay offer ('PowerGen offers 4.5 per cent rise', 12 March) sensationalised the alleged conflict with government pay policy and exaggerated the benefits on offer.

As was correctly reported in the latter part of the story, the offer, which is to be subject to a ballot of the trades unions' members in PowerGen, is for a 2.5 per cent increase in basic salaries for all staff. A further one-off lump sum bonus in recognition of productivity improvements is also attached to the offer. Both sides recognise the substantial nature of such 'improvements', which have come from staff reductions of about 1,000 in the last year and nearly 4,000 since privatisation.

Although the Government does indeed still own 40 per cent of PowerGen, it has maintained a consistent refusal to take an active role in the company's affairs (even when the coal crisis may have justified it). I therefore have no hesitation in supporting the AEEU's Frank Chapman in defending the freedom of both sides to bargain and to reach an agreement tailored to PowerGen's particular circumstances.

Yours sincerely,

TONY COOPER

General Secretary

Electrical Power Engineers' Association

Chertsey,

Surrey

12 March

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