The Unite and GMB unions held a consultative ballot of their members at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station construction site last week. Workers were balloted on whether to accept the proposed bonus offered by BYLOR, the Bouygues/Laing O’Rourke main civils contracting joint venture on the £18bn project.
Client EDF has now intervened and fresh talks are being scheduled to avert industrial action.
Unite acting national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “Members have overwhelmingly rejected BYLOR’s proposed bonus which in no way meets workers’ expectations or the requirements of the project.
“In the face of a looming industrial dispute the client has shown good sense and has stepped in to try to resolve the problem.
“It is hoped that when fresh negotiations commence BYLOR and in particular Laing O’Rourke are prepared to enter into practical discussions and a sensible bonus which meets the expectations of the workforce and ensures the project is delivered on time, can be agreed.”
Phil Whitehurst, GMB national officer for construction, said: "Our members gave this derisory bonus offer the short shrift it deserved by overwhelmingly voting it down. If the companies want to avoid strike action, they need to make us a serious offer, which matches our members' skills level, when we get back round the table.
"If they don't, they could be facing an industrial dispute and delays to the whole Hinkley Point project.”