Enterprise

Written evidence submitted by Mrs Leona Parker (ENT 29)

Subject: House of Commons - Public Bill Committee – Enterprise Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mrs Leona Parker a Magnox employee on behalf of herself.

Summary

· This note is in response to requests for comments on the Enterprise Bill and seeks to exempt Magnox Ltd from the Exit Cap payment requirement

· Provides background information

· Covers regulation regarding Magnox Pension and identifies that long serving moderately paid workers will exceed the £95K cap just by their Pension payments

· Queries why the Impact Assessment did not cover how employees would be affected and questions who benefits from savings made

· Points out that Magnox has been a Private Co for many years and has been arbitrarily placed in the Public Sector with no consultation

· Recommends that Magnox is exempt from the Exit Cap payment requirement

Discussion

Background

1. I work (and have done for 9 years) at Dungeness A Site, owned by Magnox Ltd, where we are currently restructuring staff as the site is one of the first to close down. Regretfully, Part 8 of the Bill – dealing with the £95,000-00 exit cap - is causing havoc with the Sites ability to properly form a Redundancy Plan I am not affected by the Cap but seek justice for work colleagues that are. I have watched the progression of this Bill through both Houses and I see the real impact of the printed word on the lives of people you and most of the members of both Houses will never see. An enormous amount of information must pass before you and unless the correct detail is considered a decision that would cause immense harm will occur and you stand on that cliff edge now. A knee jerk reaction at this time would really hurt people at the end of their careers who only stayed to close the site on the promise of their eventual Redundancy Package. Given that Magnox has been a Private Co for many, many years why would employees think that their longstanding Terms and Conditions would be totally ignored?

Pension

2. You should also be aware that part of the standard benefit structure of the Magnox Pension Scheme is a provision that, where retirement is as a consequence of redundancy or reorganisation, the pension shall be paid from age 50 (or date of leaving service if later) on an unreduced basis. It is not an option or a choice for the Trustee or employer or member as these payments are the rules and have been so since the scheme’s establishment in 1983, having previously been a feature of the electricity supply industry’s predecessor Staff Superannuation Scheme since the 1950’s. As my Magnox site is working towards closure a high proportion of our staff are moderately paid but long serving employees who have already accumulated significant accrued pension rights. Consequently, the payments required when a pension is paid "early" on redundancy can be substantial, often exceeding £95,000.

Impact Assessment

3. The Impact Assessment for the Bill covered the cap but said there were "no consequences" and that potential savings in the low hundreds of millions of pounds over the course of this Parliament would be made. I truly hope that stealing money from hard working Magnox, NHS and other employees is not put in the same context of similar savings such as Googles £130 million of back taxes that were handed to the Treasury. Where is the true Impact Assessment, as clearly the current Impact Assessment failed to acknowledge that Private Companies would be affected and this would have a cost to individuals? How did the Impact Assessment come up with the figure they did if they did not cover private companies? Following on from this point if Magnox are not exempted then, given they are a Private Company, who gets the savings made from not paying the contractually agreed redundancy package?

Magnox - Private Company

4. In conclusion, you are aware that Magnox is a Private Company. A management and operations contractor working for the sites’ owner, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. So, how does a Private Co get mixed in with all other government employees? If seems to me that it has been placed in the Public Sector just because it’s linked to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Where was the consultation on this decision?

Recommendation

5. Finally, focusing on Magnox Ltd, it is clear that the only fair and just line to take is to exempt Magnox from the Bill so please include the Company in the list of exemptions.

February 2016

 

Prepared 18th February 2016