Interim bonus payments will apply until the end of August 2017 and will be linked to safe and collaborative working on site

Talks between employers at Hinkley Point C and trade union Unite have led to an interim agreement over the payment of bonuses during construction of the controversial nuclear power station.

All parties agreed to take part in a collective differences panel that would seek to identify an agreeable long-term settlement of the bonus issue.

Unite had previously said it was prepared to ballot its members working on the site if an agreement could not be reached.

Interim bonus payments will apply until the end of August 2017 and will be linked to safe and collaborative working practices on site. The total bonus to be paid on this basis will be £4 an hour for working supervisor and craft grades, £3 an hour for skilled worker grades and £2 an hour for general workers £2.

The interim payments were agreed by representatives of Unite; EDF Energy, the client; BYLOR – the Tier 1 contractor comprising Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues TP - and the Kier-Bam joint venture, which is undertaking the enabling works.

As part of the agreement, the previously-approved Civil Engineering Sector Agreement (CESA) for the project, which governs pay and conditions, will be fully implemented with effect from 1 June 2017, including the interim bonus arrangements.

The collective differences panel, which will consist of a senior Unite full time official and a senior EDF Energy executive, will look at the bonus structure and seek to identify appropriate permanent bonus arrangements that are agreeable to all parties. The panel is scheduled to deliver its recommendations by August.

As part of the agreement, no industrial action will be considered while these interim arrangements are in place or until the collective differences procedure has been exhausted.

Nigel Cann, EDF Energy’s programme and construction delivery director for Hinkley Point C, 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.”

Unite’s acting national officer for construction Jerry Swain, said: “I am pleased that following consultation with our stewards and members that along with the various parties we 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.”