CONSTRUCTIVE MEETING WITH TRADE UNION REPRESENTATIVES IN NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING INDUSTRY AT HUNTERSTON 'A' AS WORKERS BETRAYED AND FORGOTTEN BY UK GOVERNMENT
Local Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson, in questions to the UK Government, has revealed that 16,000 workers at nuclear facilities across the UK have been ‘betrayed and forgotten’ by the UK government, including hundreds at Hunterston by plans to cut their final salary pensions.
Speaking at Treasury questions in the House of Commons, Patricia asked UK Government minister David Gauke MP to honour the cast iron guarantees on pensions for workers, previously made by Mrs Thatcher’s Tory Government when the nuclear industry was privatised.
Mr Gauke failed to deal with the issue at all, or give any guarantees despite those earlier assurances. He lamely replied:
“The Government and the relevant agency recognise the importance of the employees who work in this sector, but it is necessary to have terms and conditions that reflect the modern situation that applies across the economy as a whole.”
This is despite there being is no justification for this attack on nuclear workers’ pensions, whose pension funds are sound, having underwent radical reform 10 years ago. The pension now proposed will be far worse than its public sector equivalent.
Now trades unions in the nuclear industry are discussing a strike ballot amongst theirmembers.
Patricia Gibson MP said:
‘’This answer I received from the Treasury Minister was shockingly dismissive. It was former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who gave cast iron assurances that pensions would be protected following privatisation of the nuclear estate.
‘’Today the UK Government cast off any responsibility and dismissed the concerns of those working in this industry, giving no assurances.
‘’The Tories cannot just forget these workers and the promises made to them. There is no financial justification for this and for nuclear workers to be betrayed like this is totally unacceptable.
“I had a most constructive meeting with trade union representatives on Friday during a visit to Hunterston A power station and assured them that I would continue to pursue this matter on their behalf in the Commons. I am currently seeking to secure a debate on this matter to ensure that the workforce are paid the pensions they were promised.”