The ‘cleaning up’ of Britain’s 12 Magnox nuclear reactors should be taken back into public control, following today’s (Monday 27 March) announcement of the termination of the contract with Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) to carry out this work.
The call came from Unite, the country’s largest union, as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said it was ending its 14-year contract with CFP, awarded in 2014, to decommission the 12 redundant Magnox sites.
The union said that the whole contracting out process had been ‘deeply flawed from the start’. The big losers are the taxpayer and the workforce who faced cutbacks to their pensions because of the ‘financial mess’ that this contract culture had created.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “The whole contract process has been deeply flawed from the very start. This was highlighted by the High Court case which ruled that the NDA had failed to treat all bidders the same when it awarded the 2014 contract to clean up the Magnox reactors
“As a result, failed bidders EnergySolutions and Bechtel now stand to be awarded almost £100 million in compensation – a bill that the long-suffering taxpayer will have to pick up.
“The other big losers will be the workforce which faces a reduction in their pension entitlements. Unite is currently consulting its 3,000 NDA members on a new pension package which will ‘save’ the Treasury £320 million – ironically, the compensation payments of nearly £100 million will eat up nearly a third of that sum.
“The workers will have reduced pension entitlements and other benefits because of this financial mess. The government, through its 2016 Enterprise Act, forced through legislation designed to cut the terms and conditions of Magnox employees, including exit payments and changes in their pensions.
“We welcome the announcement that business secretary Greg Clark will hold an independent inquiry into the deeply flawed contracting out culture which we called for last summer.
“However, it is clear that the ‘clean up’ contract should be taken back into public control where it should have been in the first place.”
Unite has 45,000 members in the energy sector.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.