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Strike Ballot over £660 Million Broken Pension Promise

Monday, January 9, 2017

 

Nuclear workers have played their part in keeping the lights on for decade - If this government is determined to break its promises and is not prepared to negotiate, there is no alternative but to ballot members to take strike action says GMB.

Senior representatives of GMB, the union for nuclear workers, met in London today, Monday 9 January 2017, and agreed to organise a strike ballot of members over £660m broken promises pension cuts for 16,000 nuclear workers.

The unions issued a joint statement following the meeting which is set out below. [See notes to editors for previous press release on the dispute].

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.

The strike committee will draw up the timetable for the ballot with the first strike day expected in February or March.

GMB, Prospect, Unite, ASLEF/TSSA unions issued a joint statement after the meeting: 

“The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) gave as its justification for launching a formal consultation on reform of the pensions of nuclear workers covered by statutory pension protection that 'The Government’s aim is to make public sector pensions fair and to put them on an affordable and sustainable footing'.

"It further stated that '….final salary pension schemes across the NDA estate are within the scope of public sector pension reform'.

"These statements are misleading and deeply flawed. The pension schemes concerned are not public sector pension schemes and were not within the scope of public sector pension reform.

"They were not included in the terms of reference of the Hutton review of public sector pensions and they were not covered by the Public Service Pensions Act 2013.

"The scheme members affected by this consultation were previously removed from public sector pension schemes.

"At that time statutory protections against detrimental pension changes were granted to ensure the privatisation/contractorisation process was a success.

"These proposed reforms ride roughshod over those protections. Pension costs across the NDA estate are falling and are projected to continue to fall over the long-term both in terms of the schemes subject to this consultation and overall.

"Pension provision is already on an 'affordable and sustainable footing.

"The trade unions are united in their efforts to oppose these unnecessary and unjustified attacks on our members’ pensions.

"We resolve to oppose the imposition of any detrimental changes.

"In particular we resolve to:

 - Respond robustly to the consultation;

 - Correct the misrepresentation of the position by the NDA and the government;

 - Campaign and oppose the proposals politically (including in the anticipated upcoming by-election in Copeland);

 - Examine using the legal process to oppose the imposition of any detrimental changes;

 - Each union will consider and develop plans for industrial action.”

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for the Nuclear Sector, said: 

“Nuclear workers have played their part in keeping the country's lights on for decades.

"Senior representatives were unanimous that if this government is determined to break its promises and is not prepared to negotiate, there is no alternative but to ballot members to take strike action.

"GMB remains committed to resolving these issues amicably and available for meaningful talks should the government want to pull back from this shocking episode of broken promises to workers in the nuclear industry."

END

Contact: Justin Bowden: 07710 631 351; GMB press office: 07958 156846 or press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to editors:

[1] http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/nda-pension-promise

 

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