Enterprise Bill

Written evidence submitted by Vincent Todd (ENT 25)

I write in respect of the proposed £95k cap on Exit Payments for Public Sector workers contained within part 8 of the Bill…

As an employee of Magnox Ltd I find it very hard to understand firstly why we, as a private sector company, have been included in the scope of this bill and also how it can be considered ‘fair’ to introduce such legislation which will have the effect of completely overriding our negotiated agreements.

On this latter point, during the early 2000’s it was realised that Magnox, as a company, was coming to an end of generation and would over the following 20 years or so be focussed on defueling and decommissioning to site closures with the workforce effectively working themselves out of a job.

In order to ensure retention of the appropriate qualified, trained and experienced staff to ensure this transition to site closures in a safe and efficient manner, much work was put into negotiating an agreement that would encourage the appropriate staff to remain within Magnox.  This agreement has certainly had the desired effect, a great many of the staff did stay and extremely good progress has been made in both defueling and decommissioning.

To now introduce legislation which will have the effect of removing the ‘final’ benefits for the staff is just plain wrong.  The Government has reaped the benefits of the staff staying and now seem to be choosing to renege on their side of the bargain..?

Personally speaking, when Dungeness A ceased generation in 2006 I was 39 years old and with my qualifications and experience I’m sure would have had no difficulty in finding a job elsewhere. Like many of my colleagues, however, I chose to stay to site closure based on my expectation of a decent severance package, incorporating an early unreduced pension on completion of the work.  I now find that when my job does come to an end I will instead be faced with the prospect of not receiving this unreduced pension and having to seek work again, now in my early 50s… potentially a very different prospect of finding suitable alternative employment.

I would also like to highlight that in the manifesto the Conservative Party pledged to ‘stop excessive severance package payments to the best paid public sector workers’… Now although I do consider myself to be paid well I’m certainly not one of the best paid public sector workers and with many of my colleagues having very long service (over 30 years) even people on very average salaries of around £25k are going to be captured by this cap.

Finally, I would point out that if the ‘encouragement to stay’ is removed it is very likely that there will be many people who will decide to ‘jump now’ rather than waiting to ‘be pushed’ in the future.  In this case the loss of these skills and experience will be very detrimental to the ongoing defueling and decommissioning with the likely outcome that the whole program will take years longer to complete and end up costing many billions of pounds more – completely wiping out and topping any saving that may be made by the proposal as it stands.

In conclusion, I urge you as a committee to exclude the NDA Nuclear Estate (including Magnox Ltd) from the scope of the Bill.

February 2016

 

Prepared 11th February 2016