UNIONS are considering strike action over a £660 million “Treasury-led raid” on the pensions of over 16,000 nuclear industry workers.
GMB, Unite, Prospect and Aslef announced yesterday that their representatives will meet next Monday to discuss a response to plans to scrap the final salary pension scheme for Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) workers across 19 sites.
Unions have urged members to resist the attacks and have accused the government — who are expecting pension reforms to be complete by April next year — of a “sordid and unnecessary sleight of hand.”
GMB national secretary Justin Bowden claimed there was no justification for the cuts and accused the government of reneging on previous agreements.
“This is a point blank betrayal of the promises made by Margaret Thatcher to nuclear communities when the electricity industry was privatised in the 1990s,” he said.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “It is blatantly clear that the NDA is the stalking horse for the government which is hell-bent in saving £660m over the period of decommissioning… The NDA is the monkey to the government’s organ grinder in this sordid and unnecessary sleight of hand.”
He warned: “Our members will be prepared to take determined industrial action to defend their hard-earned retirement incomes.”
Prospect deputy general secretary Dai Hudd likened the government to disgraced former BHS boss Sir Philip Green, saying that the pension cuts to nuclear industry workers are on the same scale as those suffered by BHS staff.
He said: “There was a justified, public and political outcry when Philip Green was 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.”
Mr Hudd vowed that the union would oppose the pension attacks “legally, politically and if necessary industrially” — pointing to the forthcoming by-election in Copeland, which was triggered by Blairite Labour MP Jamie Reed announcing that he would be standing down to return to a senior post in the nuclear industry.
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