A "ground-breaking" agreement has been reached covering the pay and conditions of workers who will help build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.
The deal covers electrical and mechanical workers and is similar to one signed earlier this year on behalf of other employees at the EDF Energy site.
"This ground-breaking agreement reflects the importance that we place on partnerships with our employees and with trade unions to help deliver the UK's first new nuclear power plant in a generation,” said Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy.
"Hinkley Point C has the potential to create 25,000 job opportunities in the UK during its construction, including over 400 apprentices, and it will create 900 jobs when operational,” he said, explaining the new agreement promotes the very best standards in industrial relations."
The agreement has been hailed for setting a new benchmark for pay, conditions and apprenticeships, ensuring at least 500 well-paid apprentices will get a chance to gain invaluable experience on the project.It also commits to direct employment and no agency workers, which ensures the workforce are more secure and enjoy equal treatment.
"We all share a commitment to providing high-quality employment standards, hand in hand with the best standards in health, safety, quality and productivity,” said Hinkley Point C construction director Nigel Cann. “This upfront collaboration gives us confidence that, once we start construction, we will be able to continue without stopping."
Phil Whitehurst, national officer of the GMB union, said he believes the agreement will enhance good working relationships between the trade unions, the client, and their sub-contractors.
"These agreements are ground-breaking not only in the increased levels of pay terms and conditions compared to other agreements in the UK construction Industry, but they are bound together, offering a solid industrial relations foundation,” Whitehurst concluded.