Unite secures 8 per cent wage deal plus £1,500 cash sum 

Unite the union confirmed today (Wednesday 22 March) that energy workers employed by Drax Hydro Limited have overwhelmingly voted to accept an improved pay offer bringing their dispute with the employer to an end.

Around 50 Unite members covering Stonebyres (Lanark), Cruachan (Loch Awe) and Glenlee (Castle Douglas) power stations voted yes to accept the pay offer by 90.5 per cent.

The workers are set to receive an 8 per cent wage uplift along with a £1,500 one-off cash payment. The deal involves other benefits including one day’s additional leave for this year, and it will be backdated to October 2022 and run until September 2023. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Drax Hydro secured this significantly improved wage offer because they were prepared to take strike action for a fair wage, backed by their union all the way.

“Unite is pleased to have successfully negotiated this valuable deal and to enhance the jobs, pay and conditions of our members during this cost of living crisis.”

 The workers including engineers, plant controllers, as well as mechanical and electrical craft workers, previously supported strike action by 84.6 per cent on an 86.7 per cent turnout.

Elaine Dougall, Unite regional co-ordinating officer said: "The deal at Drax Hydro achieves a number of significant enhancements to pay, terms and working conditions. The deal has also been reached prior to any industrial action taking place, which was always the ambition during the negotiations. 

 “However, it’s equally clear that this deal wouldn’t have been achieved without our members demonstrating to Drax Hydro that they were determined to fight for a better deal through supporting and taking strike action if necessary.”

The Cruachan Power Station is one of only four pumped storage hydro stations with a capacity of 440 MW - enough to power more than 90,000 homes. 

Drax Hydro posted its latest accounts in July 2022 on Companies House indicating the company made profits totalling £2.3m for 2021. 

The Drax Group generates 11 per cent of the UK's renewable energy and a fifth during peak periods. It is estimated to have generated profits in excess of £680 million for 2022, an increase of well over 50 per cent on the previous year.