Commenting on the Stone Review of the Nuclear Regulatory Regime, Prospect negotiator Mike Macdonald said: “We are delighted that the government’s nuclear policy adviser has recognised the scale of the staffing problem and welcome his recommendations, in particular that pay and compensation for Nuclear Installations Inspectorate staff should be adjusted rapidly to enable recruitment of the full complement of staff needed.
“The NII has 170 inspectors and needs an additional 20 for current work, as well as 30 more to meet nuclear new build needs. Also 50 inspectors are due to retire in the next five years.
“Tim Stone’s findings vindicate Prospect’s long and determined campaign for change. We welcome his calls to find a long-term pay solution that recognises the skills shortage within the industry and the difficulty of recruiting suitably qualified and skilled inspectors in competition with the private sector.”Prospect also welcomed proposed changes to the NII structure, including creation of satellite NII offices in London and Cheltenham, alongside the Bootle headquarters. The government has proposed that NII, which raises money to pay inspectors from a levy on the nuclear industry, should also be given greater flexibility to vary rates of pay to combat recruitment difficulties.
Prospect agreed with Stone’s warning that “a failure to make the necessary reforms may hamper the effective operation of British Energy and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the next few years, as well as the programme of work to decommission legacy facilities.”
Macdonald said pay negotiations with the Health and Safety Executive are expected to be completed by February 11. Prospect has claimed a major shift towards market rates for NII inspectors and other inspectors in HSE. In October 2007 Prospect negotiated an increase of 15 per cent for NII inspectors.