New pay deal averts immediate industrial action by UK nuclear workers

British Energy has tabled a revised pay offer to its workforce and is confident of averting the threatened strike action which could have forced the shutdown of its nuclear power facilities. The unions, who will put the offer to a ballot on Dec 7, are considering the 3 per cent pay rise effective from July 2002.

Union leaders have agreed to put on hold the plans for a work to rule that would have began on Monday and the one-day strike scheduled for November 29. The company and the relevant trade unions issued a joint statement saying they have reached an agreed position which should settle the dispute.

“It can be confirmed that the trades unions are extending the deadline for the commencement of industrial action whilst a consultative ballot is held,” the statement said.

Last week five unions representing about 4,000 staff at the predominantly nuclear generator voted for industrial action. They were unhappy with the terms of the pay offer which was linked to output levels.

“The trades unions and the company have agreed to enter into a constructive dialogue in order to establish on a timely basis a new agreement involving staff covered by the existing collective bargaining arrangements within the UK Generation business in British Energy. This will be facilitated by ACAS,” today’s statement said.

The threat of strike action has already forced up prices in the wholesale electricity market, with traders seeking cover as the country switches lights on earlier and faces colder temperatures.

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