GMB, UNITE, PROSPECT AND ASLEF NUCLEAR INDUSTRY UNIONS MEETING ON MONDAY 9TH JANUARY TO CONSIDER STRIKE ACTION OVER £660M BROKEN PROMISES PENSIONS CUTS FOR 16,000 WORKERS
There is no justification for this attack on the pensions of these nuclear workers and their communities, these pension funds are in a sound state say GMB, Unite, Prospect and Aslef.
The GMB, Prospect, Unite and ASLEF/TSSA Unions representing workers in the nuclear sector are to meet in London on Monday 9th January over £660 million cuts to 16,000 nuclear workers' pensions across 19 sites across the UK.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is starting a process of statutory consultation about proposed Government cuts to final salary pension benefits across the NDA estate from 9 January 2017 until Friday 10 March 2017.
The meeting will take place at GMB Offices, Euston at 11am on Monday 9th January and will involve senior nuclear trade union representatives from all over the country to discuss what action is required.
16,000 workers will be affected working for Sellafied (Cumbria), Magnox (Anglesey, Ayrshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Gwynedd, Kent, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Suffolk), Direct Rail Services (Cumbria), Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (Caithness), Low Level Waste Repository (Cumbria) and International Nuclear Services (Cumbria, Warrington). See notes to editors for a list of companies, sites and locations.
Government’s expectation is that the final salary pension schemes in place across the NDA estate will have been reformed by April 2018.
Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer for energy, said: “We are urging all our members working for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to resist this proposed Treasury-led ‘raid’ on their pensions – if it is allowed to go-ahead thousands of workers will see their retirement incomes slashed by thousands of pounds.
“It is blatantly clear that the NDA is the stalking horse for the government is which hell-bent in saving £660 million over the period of decommissioning. This assault on our members’ pensions is made all the more sour by the fact that the scheme is not in deficit. The NDA is the monkey to the government’s organ grinder in this sordid and unnecessary sleight of hand.
“Our members have already made big sacrifices since the last pension changes were imposed in 2008 – and enough is enough. Our members will be prepared to take determined industrial action to defend their hard-earned retirement incomes.”
Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for the Nuclear Sector, said: “There is no justification for this attack on the pensions of these nuclear workers and their communities. These pension funds are in a sound state and underwent considerable reform 10 years ago.
"What the government are saying is that the privatised Site License Companies who run these nuclear facilities are in fact public sector organisations and therefore Sellafield, Dounreay and the Magnox Sites should go through the same reforms as the rest of the public sector itself.
"This is a point blank betrayal of the promises made by Margaret Thatcher to nuclear communities when the electricity industry was privatised in the 1990's and the public sector-like pension being proposed would make it by far the worst across the public sector."
Dai Hudd, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said: “Prospect members are some of the most highly skilled workers in the UK, indeed some number amongst the highest skilled engineers and scientists working in this field in the world. They commit to the development of ground breaking solutions to tackle one of human kinds greatest long term challenges. There can be no justification for these cuts to the future pensions of these workers.”
“The magnitude of the future cuts are in the order of £600m. There was a justified, public and political outcry when Phillip Green is accused of taking a similar figure of £580m from the pension fund of BHS, there should be no different reaction to this Treasury inspired raid, on a scheme that is not in the public sector.
“The consultation, such that it is, inspires little confidence of our members. We will oppose detrimental changes to their terms, legally, politically and if necessary industrially. The forthcoming Copeland By-Election will be a key battle for these issues.”
Colin Smith, north-west district organiser for ASLEF, the train drivers' union, said: "ASLEF will not stand by and be told that the pensions that we have secured through fair and equitable negotiations will be downgraded by a dogmatic approach via the government decision to carryout their ideology in attacking the Final Salary Pension scheme of our members."
Notes to editors:
List of sites and depots
Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG
Bradwell on Sea
Dungeness A Site
Hinkley Point A Site
Hunterston A Site
Sizewell A Site
Direct Rail Services
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd
Low Level Waste Repository
Cumbria CA20 1DB
International Nuclear Services
Birchwood Park Avenue,
Cheshire WA3 6GR
Westlakes Science & Technology Park,
2 The Government began the process of reforming pensions across the public sector in 2011. Since then it has transferred the vast majority of public sector employees (around 4 million workers) from final salary based schemes to new Career Average Earnings based pension arrangements.
3 Options being considered include Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) and a Pensionable Pay Cap. Under CARE, benefits at retirement are based on average earnings over career and length of membership of the scheme. If implemented this would take effect from 1 April 2018. A Pensionable Pay Cap would mean only a certain percentage of any salary increases would be included in the calculation of pensionable pay. If implemented this would take effect from 1 April 2017.
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.