Ballot on nuclear pensions reform back on

Ballot on nuclear pensions reform back on after delay

Prospect has reinstated the ballot of members employed across the nuclear decommissioning estate on proposals to reform their defined benefit pensions.

Stack of pension coins declining in size

The ballot will now run from 3-24 May. It was delayed to enable members to receive clarification on whether they will be covered by the £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments that the government introduced in the 2016 Enterprise Act.

A commitment had been given to provide clarification before any ballot was held. 

Prospect deputy general secretary Dai Hudd wrote to members in the branches within scope of the reform after receiving a letter from energy minister Jesse Norman. Norman’s letter outlined principles that will govern waiving the cap on the pensions element of future redundancy terms.

Hudd said: “Having now considered the minister’s response, Prospect officers and senior representatives believe we have sufficient detail to proceed with a ballot.

“The delay did provide time for further lobbying to increase the pressure on the minister and maximise our leverage.”

Hudd added that the unexpected announcement of a general election had raised new questions over timing.

“Despite making substantial progress on both the pension reforms and the exit cap, we had feared the matter might be delayed until after the election. We were keen to consolidate progress made during the talks, or start to prepare for industrial action, before the election. Now we can do that.”

Hudd said reps and officials were conscious that, in the absence of a ballot result, the drive to push ahead with the pensions reform would continue after the election, in an even more difficult political position.  

“We are urging members to use their vote wisely and be clear about what the result will mean.

“The issue to consider is not whether you like this clearly detrimental proposal – but whether the improvements are worth accepting as they will provide a greater degree of certainty. We believe they are the best achievable through negotiation and they do significantly improve on the NDA’s original proposals. Rejection will mean being prepared to take action to seek to achieve a better outcome.”

The ballot closes on 24 May. 

A more detailed briefing is available to members.