Workers at the EDF site at Hinkley Point have threatened to go on strike after receiving derisory pay offers. EDF have made a lot of noise about the number of jobs that Sizewell C would create, but it is becoming clear that the dodgy practices used to drive down wages at EDF sites abroad are being used here too.

Tim Morris, the Unite regional officer at Hinkley said of the pay deal: "This poor offer is unacceptable under all of the circumstances and our members came to Hinkley Point under the belief that they would receive excellent pay and bonuses. ..The employers think they can do this 'on the cheap' by offering a derisory bonus rate, but the workers consider it to be completely inadequate to attract and hold onto the skilled workforce necessary."1

It is not surprising that EDF are trying to cut corners and build as cheaply as they can –it is well known that they are a company in deep financial trouble. Two years ago the new Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said “EDF’s debt is increasing each year, that’s one of my biggest surprises when I arrived...My biggest astonishment was maybe the fact that cash flow was significantly negative.2

EDF is building nuclear power stations at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland. Both of these projects are disastrously over budget and have missed deadline after deadline. What this has translated to for workers on the ground was summed up by Kyösti Suokas, co-chairman of the Finnish Construction Union: “Olkiluoto has been a complete disappointment for us. There have been fewer than 100 Finnish builders there. It is the view of our experts that huge amounts of cheap labour have been brought here from abroad to work inefficiently”3

Things are even worse at the EDF project in Flamanville. In July 2011 the chair of the European Parliament’s employment committee, French deputy Pervenche Berès described the working conditions at Flamanville as A case of modern-day slavery”.4

The conditions at the site came to light after an investigation into a fatal accident in 2011. which resulted in EDFs main contractor Bouygues Construction, being found guilty of serious violations in labour laws and numerous breaches in health and safety in 2015.5

EDF has awarded the contract to build significant parts of Hinkley C to A consortium of Bouygues Construction and Laing O’Rourke.

Suffolk people looking for work at Sizewell C are likely to find that the promise of high quality well paid jobs from EDF is all hot air.

1http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/hinkley-point-power-station-groundworks-staff-threaten-strike-action-due-to-derisory-payment-offe/story-30282993-detail/story.html

2https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-12/edf-2014-profit-rises-as-power-production-from-reactors-gained

3http://www.plux.co.uk/slave-labour-building-nuclear-plants/

4https://reporterre.net/Flamanville-est-un-exemple-d

5https://www.challenges.fr/emploi/proces-en-appel-de-bouygues-a-flamanville-pour-fraude-au-travail-detache_437421