Drax workers vote against industrial action over cuts

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Drax power stationImage source, PA
Image caption,
Drax power station near Selby in North Yorkshire produces 7% of the UK's electricity

Staff at the UK's largest power station have voted against going on strike over job losses.

The Unite union called a vote accusing management at Drax of backtracking on an agreement that there would be no compulsory redundancies.

However, about 60% of workers balloted voted against industrial action.

Drax denies claims it had promised no compulsory redundancies at the power plant near Selby, North Yorkshire.

According to Unite, a commitment was made during pay talks in 2019 that "required changes would result in no further redundancies".

The union said that this commitment was breached when Drax confirmed that commercial coal generation would end in March 2021 with the loss of 230 jobs.

Of 297 workers balloted, 169 cast votes with 102 against industrial action.

Regional officer Shane Sweeting said: "Drax should not be breaking promises and hanging its loyal and skilled staff out to dry as a reward for performing key worker roles right through the pandemic.

"The fact that 40% of members voted for industrial action at such an unsettling time for the nation should serve as motivation to Drax's leadership to reconsider their plans to make 230 staff redundant."

'Right thing to do'

Drax said it was offering the same "enhanced redundancy package" for voluntary and compulsory redundancy and that these terms had already been accepted by other unions.

A Drax spokesperson said: "We will continue to work closely with the trade unions and employee representatives to ensure we look after those who are affected and we are doing everything we can to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies."

The spokesperson added that about 200 roles would go and, although this was difficult for employees, "stopping using coal at Drax is the right thing to do for the environment, our communities and the business".

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