Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Union to ballot nuclear plant workers over industrial action

Torness Power Station
Image caption Torness Power Station is in Dunbar in East Lothian

Unions are to ballot staff at Scotland's two nuclear power stations over industrial action.

The GMB union said it would hold a consultative ballot among its members at the Hunterston B and Torness stations over what it described as "draconian" cuts.

It follows a row over pay and conditions with owner EDF Energy.

EDF Energy said it was consulting unions and was not aware of any plans to hold a ballot.

GMB Scottish secretary Gary Smith said industrial action at the power stations could have "profound implications" for electricity generation and supply across Scotland.

But he added: "We have been left with little choice than to take on EDF over these draconian cuts."

'Significant demands'

He said the row centred on workers' pay and conditions during statutory outage periods at the power stations.

"Outages are a statutory requirement, a safety-critical process delivering the maintenance of our nuclear reactors," he said.

Image caption Staff at Hunterston B are being balloted by the union

"During these periods staff become fully available, work flexibly to accommodate the employer's requirements and receive enhanced rates in return.

"The outage rates were negotiated by trade unions because this is an intensive period of work that places significant demands on staff across the UK's nuclear fleet and it is ludicrous that a hugely profitable multi-national like EDF is trying to break this agreement."

An EDF spokesman said: "We are actively engaged in consultation with our trade union partners, including GMB, and are not aware of any ballot notifications.

"We're sharing open and constructive dialogue in a period where costs are going up and income from electricity generation is going down, and have been having productive conversations on how to achieve our shared goals."

Another ballot would have to be held before any industrial action goes ahead.

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