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 Unite and GMB 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, which is 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 January 1 2017 and May 31 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.
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,” he added.
“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 added, “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.”