EDF scales back on preparatory work, reducing the number of people working in a bid to control costs

Tim Lezard

Hinkley Point CUnions have expressed fears for the future of the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point after the news jobs are to go even before the project has properly got off the ground.

Owners EDF yesterday announced plans to scale back on preparatory work for the project and reduce the number of people working on it in a bid to control costs. The company, which currently employs 800 people on site, has refused to say how many jobs will be lost, but has admitted the number is ‘significant”.

Prospect national secretary Alan Leighton said: “Our members fear that any delay in the preparation work could impede or delay EDF’s ability to bring the project to fruition once agreement has been reached.

Prospect is committed to an appropriate energy mix for the UK, including gas and renewables, but it is undoubtedly the case that nuclear and nuclear new build will be pivotal if we are to achieve the twin goals of capacity and security of supply.

“We hope that this announcement will encourage all involved in the talks to redouble their efforts to agree a strike price. Particularly as it comes so soon after the recent warning from outgoing Ofgem head, Alistair Buchanan, that we are facing an imminent capacity crunch in the UK unless urgent action is taken.

“Without an agreement we risk losing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to meet the country’s decarbonisation targets and help build a new economy that provides good quality jobs and growth for the UK.”

Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: “The project has hardly got underway and EDF are having to cut jobs at the site. This is extremely disappointing and the blame lies squarely with the government for prevaricating over the strike price. It’s time for the government to give EDF the certainty it needs so the company can get on with the job of meeting the UK’s energy needs.”

GMB national officer for engineering construction Phil Whitehurst said: “This is disappointing news for this essential infrastructure project. This government has shown yet again its ineptitude in failing to conclude negotiations for the strike price for power from this nuclear station.

“The thousands of construction workers due on the project will not be needed for some time and some of those now there face being laid off. GMB are still in talks with EDF over sector specific agreements.

“There is now a serious worry that delays could derail this project. That would be a disaster for both employment and for the carbon free power the station will generate.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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