Members of the trade union Unite who are working on the construction of Hinkley Point C, the EDF Energy-led nuclear power station project, are to receive bonus payments as part of an interim agreement while the facility is under construction.
The interim bonus arrangements are effective from 1 June 2017 under a previously approved Civil Engineering Sector Agreement (CESA), which governs pay and conditions. The payments, which will be linked to safe and collaborative on-site working, will apply until the end of August 2017.
Under the bonus agreement, working supervisors and craft grades will receive £4 an hour, skilled worker grades will receive £3 an hour, and general workers will receive £2 an hour.
Representatives from Unite, EDF Energy, contractor Bylor, which is a consortium of French organisation Bouygues TP and construction business Laing O’Rourke, and the Kier-Bam joint venture, which is undertaking the enabling works, will also form a collective differences panel. The panel will look to identify a permanent productivity or milestone-based bonus arrangement that is agreeable to all parties, delivering its recommendations by August 2017.
The panel will include a senior executive from EDF Energy and a senior full-time official from Unite.
Under the agreement, no industrial action will be considered while the interim arrangements are in place or until the collective differences procedure has been exhausted.
The bonus dispute begun in April 2017. Unions Unite and GMB argued that a bonus rate proposed by the Bylor consortium was insufficient to attract the quality of staff needed to ensure that that the civil works phase of the £18 billion construction project was completed on time.
Unite and GMB members were balloted in May 2017. They voted to refuse the proposed bonus arrangement.
Nigel Cann, programme and construction delivery director for Hinkley Point C at EDF Energy, said: “We are proud about the best in class nature of the overall package for the Hinkley Point C civil workforce. We have created great facilities, an opportunity to develop and a very competitive reward structure.
“We are pleased that these interim arrangements allow constructive dialogue to continue to finalise this important agreement. Unite the union has been a constructive partner in the discussions to date and I look forward to this continuing throughout the construction of the Hinkley Point C power station.”
Jerry Swain, acting national officer for construction at Unite, added: “I am pleased that following consultation with our stewards and members that we, along with the various parties, have been able to agree a clear path forward and that the prospect of industrial action, which is always a last resort, can be taken off the agenda in order to allow the Differences Panel to deliberate.
“The work undertaken by EDF Energy in ensuring that all parties signed up to the interim agreement has been crucial in providing a breathing space and creating the opportunity for a long-term solution being agreed to finally resolve this matter.”