Ten things you didn’t know about Prospect’s work in nuclear

Ten things you didn’t know about Prospect’s work in nuclear

Gill Wood, Prospect National Secretary, talks about the union’s work in the nuclear sector.

Nuclear plant workers

Who does Prospect represent in the nuclear sector?

Among many others, we represent scientists, managers, senior managers, engineers, apprentices, project controllers, project managers, a number of administration staff and all those in professional and specialist grades.

How many members do we represent in Industry

Approximately 11,500.

What are the top three issues we are facing in industry?

Challenge of maintaining adequate and sustainable budgets for decommissioning, including the associated activities of training and research and development.

Continue to develop and maintain the case to support a strong commitment to new nuclear build within a balanced energy policy.

In all of this, maintaining and attracting the right calibre of skills to ensure the future of nuclear and recognising that good quality terms and conditions form part of that.

Is Prospect doing any specific campaigning in nuclear right now?

We have just completed a major campaign on pension reform and a cap on redundancy payments, which were of huge detriment. This included our members working with us by writing to their MPs, supporting us to visit sites to speak to representatives and members. Strong communication throughout that campaign resulted in an alternative proposal, which our members voted to support.

In addition to this we continue to campaign and lobby for a successful decommissioning programme and for the UK to have a future in new build. We recently launched a pamphlet setting out the case for a ‘New Nuclear Deal’ that was very well received.

We have attended and addressed fringe meetings in support of these policies at the Labour and Conservative Party conferences.

What does Prospect think are likely to be the big issues in nuclear over the next five years?

Securing and development and commissioning of new nuclear reactors as a key part of our future energy mix.

A key challenge in achieving this will be the ability to maintain and attract the right skills and workforce needed in this area; and addressing the fact of replacing a talented but ageing workforce.

There is now a pressing need to identify and see progress on the establishment of a Geological Disposal Facility.

Who are some of the big companies who negotiate with Prospect?

  • Sellafield Ltd
  • Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • Magnox Ltd
  • EDF
  • National Nuclear Laboratory
  • Westinghouse
  • Cavendish Nuclear
  • Urenco
  • Horizon Nuclear
  • Dounreay
  • Research Sites Restoration Limited (RSRL)
  • Low Level Waste Repository Ltd
  • RWE
  • Office of Nuclear Regulation
  • Radioactive Waste Management
  • International Nuclear Services
  • Civil Nuclear Police Authority
  • Nuvia

Are most of our members in this industry permanent employees or freelance/contractors?

The majority of our members are long standing permanent employees. However, there are a growing number of contractors and temporary staff, and some personal contract holders.

How do we support our members in nuclear?

We continue to support our members on an individual basis on many personal employment issues they may face. We have an exemplary group of dedicated lay and full time Representatives who support their membership.

We also have teams of specialist Prospect staff who aid and support representatives and members in consultation and negotiation, pension campaigns, legal support and health and safety.

We have a structure of health and safety representatives who are well trained and dedicated in an area where health and safety is of the utmost importance.

What’s a recent success we’ve had supporting a member, or members?

The pension reform campaign as mentioned above where members, representatives and every level of staff were involved in a consultation with government and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, lobbying MPs and ministers. There were regular communication and mass members meetings.

While there is still a proposal to change the landscape of the current pension that members receive, this final proposal differs significantly from the original, which had severe disadvantages for our members in the original proposal.

Why should someone working in the nuclear industry join Prospect?

In addition to the above, Prospect sits alongside the industry and are active members on bodies such as Nuclear Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN), Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) and Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) to ensure our members’ interests are part of those debates and we actively campaign and lobby for the future of the nuclear industry.

More so than ever, anyone in authority making decisions in this sector can be exposed to increased levels of scrutiny. Prospect does not flinch from providing support for members who find themselves in this unfortunate position. No union in the industry can match our commitment to individual support.