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Hinkley nuclear project could be delayed again as labour dispute looms

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Work on the UK’s £18bn ($23bn) Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could face further delays if an industrial dispute is not resolved, unions warned this week.  

The dispute revolves around bonus pay, with unions warning the consortium overseeing the civil works that its proposed bonus rates are too low.

According to a statement from GMB, the rate offered is “unacceptable” and “insufficient to attract the quality of workers needed to ensure that the civil works phase of the … project is completed on time”.

The GMB and Unite unions are set to hold a member vote in early May on potential strike action. There are currently around 700 workers on-site.

The BYLOR consortium, which is composed of France’s Bouygues TP and UK-based engineering group Laing O’Rourke, is responsible for the project’s civil works. The consortium has so far not offered a comment on the dispute.

Tim Morris, a regional officer with the Unite union, said: “This poor offer is unacceptable under all of the circumstances and our members came to Hinkley Point under the belief that they would receive excellent pay and bonuses.

"The employers think they can do this ‘on the cheap’ by offering a derisory bonus rate, but the workers consider it to be completely inadequate to attract and hold onto the skilled workforce necessary.”

The Hinkley project, which is being built by France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), has been plagued by multiple delays and uncertainties. Final consent was given by Britain’s Office of Nuclear Regulation in late March.

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