Challenges and opportunities discussed at ‘One NDA’ virtual meeting

Challenges and opportunities discussed at ‘One NDA’ virtual meeting

“We have some incredible challenges ahead, and some exciting opportunities too but to be successful, working together is a must.”

Pylons at Sellafield nuclear site

That was the view of Steve Nicholson, president of Prospect’s Sellafield branch, following a virtual gathering of trade union representatives across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and NDA group leaders to consider the direction of ‘One NDA’ strategy.

More than 60 people participated in the event, which discussed how to build mutual collaborative working between the NDA group and trade union representatives.  The participants also received an update on developments in relation to the impact COVID-19 has had on NDA operations.

Paul Vallance, the NDA’s director of communications and stakeholder relations, chaired the event, and speakers included:

  • David Peattie, NDA chief executive
  • Alan Cumming, NDA director of nuclear operations
  • Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary
  • Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary.

In his opening remarks, David Peattie emphasised the importance of the wellbeing of staff during a gradual return to work in the ‘new normal’.

He highlighted recent successes in bringing the One NDA vision to life, including in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; in wellbeing which culminated in the group safety and wellbeing awards; the launch of a group LGBT network and David’s appointment as patron to Women in Nuclear UK.

In doing so he acknowledged the trade unions’ important contribution to what has been achieved so far.

Stressing the importance of the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, Alan Cumming, director of nuclear operations gave an overview of the business groups’ response to COVID-19.

He outlined the need to adopt measures such as risk assessments to provide confidence to employees returning to work. He also explained our commitment to bringing benefits by re-imagining future ways of working.  He said that we could learn much from lessons experienced during the last three months.

Trade unions

Welcoming the opportunity for an open discussion, Justin Bowden of the GMB urged the trade union participants to raise issues that are important to their members.

Reps from across the NDA were able to ask questions on a wide range of topics relating to One NDA such as mobility, the impact of Covid 19 and more general issues concerning pay, socio-economic support and future funding of the NDA.

In closing the event, Prospect’s Sue Ferns remarked that working in partnership didn’t mean agreeing upon everything but working together to find solutions.

She welcomed this event, particularly under the ‘virtual’ setting, and acknowledged the progress that has been made, but warned against complacency. She added that she was looking forward to further meetings in the future.