Belfast Telegraph

Crucial talks in bid to avoid strikes by nuclear workers

Crucial talks are to be held in a bid to avert the threat of industrial action by thousands of nuclear workers in a row over pensions.

Unions will urge the Government to suspend consultation on controversial plans to reform the pensions of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) employees, to make savings of £660 million.

Unions representing workers based at Sellafield (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) will meet energy minister Jesse Norman on Wednesday.

Prospect deputy general secretary Dai Hudd said there were "significant" problems with the consultation, including confusion about who is responsible for analysing responses, poor quality of information, and lack of an equality impact assessment for the proposals.

He said: "Any one of these problems would be a major cause for concern, but to experience them all in a single consultation is unprecedented in my experience.

"Members need much more, and much better, information in order to respond properly. The only appropriate action now is to suspend the consultation while the issues identified are resolved."

The joint trade unions (Prospect, GMB, Unite and Aslef) have agreed a number of steps to defend members' pensions including raising it as an issue in next month's Copeland by-election and considering plans for industrial action if detrimental changes are imposed.

The NDA has said that Government policy is that all public sector final salary pensions schemes should reformed by 2018.

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