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.
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."
Kevin Coyne, Unite National Officer, 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.”
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."
Contacts: Justin Bowden: 07710 631 351; GMB press office: 07958 156846 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dai Hudd: 07713 511704
Kevin Coyne: 07798 531006
Colin Smith: 07977 142460
Notes to editors:
1List of sites and depots:
Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG
Berkeley Site Berkeley,
Bradwell Site Bradwell on Sea
Chapelcross Site Annan,
Dungeness A Site Romney Marsh,
Harwell Site Harwell Campus,
Hinkley Point A Site Nr Bridgwater,
Hunterston A Site West Kilbride,
Oldbury Site Oldbury Naite,
Sizewell A Site Nr Leiston,
Trawsfynydd Site Blaenau Ffestiniog,
Wylfa Site Cemaes,
Direct Rail Services
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd Dounreay,
KW14 7TZ LLWR
Low Level Waste Repository
International Nuclear Services Hinton House,
Birchwood Park Avenue,
Westlakes Science & Technology Park,
2 The table below shows the active final salary and defined contribution members in the CNPP and Magnox Electric Group of the ESPS (MEG ESPS) as at 31 March 2016 by Section
3 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.
4 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