Enterprise

Written evidence submitted by Ray Jeffery (ENT 34)

Dear Sir/Madam, I am an employee of Magnox Ltd, a company that will be affected by the Government’s Enterprise Bill due to the Exit Payment Clause contained within. Where I have work at Bradwell Reactor Site since 1976, joining the industry as Craft apprentice (Mechanical), following a lengthy educational training and development program progressed into Engineering, (System Engineering Department), Where we are currently safely decommissioning Bradwell Site for completion by 2019.

This is my heartfelt plea to ask you to fight against the Enterprise Bill, or at least that part that contains the Exit payment cap of £95k. I can assure you it DOES affect the little man who has worked hard all his life in one industry on modest wages. Please take the time to read this letter as the Bill states clearly that it will affect ‘pension make up’ and this statement has a catastrophic effect on many people like me.

I have voted since I was 18 and as I got older and began to see the world in a different way I started to really look at Party Manifesto’s and Party Policies with a lot more interest. I began to see how they truly affected me and the people around me who I knew and loved. One of the major turning points for me was the actual politicians who represented their policies, because for me it really made a big difference. I believed that if they got into politics for the right reasons, then they truly stood for the ideas they were promoting. All the parties have their own ‘faces’ in this respect. My point in all this is the fact the Government and previous Governments have promised that they will NOT tamper with pensions to people’s detriment. The politicians actually stood there and quoted this in their policies and their manifesto’s!

The reply I have got to my query to this is basically: ‘The amount of money the Government spends on Exit Payments reaches into the Millions’, but that is not my point with my company Magnox Ltd and many other civil service employees. Our pension scheme has been in place for many decades and has a system that rewards people for their long service, most of us on a very modest wage. We are entitled to a pension should we be severed from age 50, after serving the long years we have, safely running and decommissioning our country’s Magnox nuclear power stations. It has been in our terms and conditions since the inception of the scheme and is ‘protected’ for the long serving employees under 2 acts of parliament. These are our company terms and conditions that have been painstakingly agreed over many years of negotiation…an independent company! And right on the 11th hour the Government decides to step in and meddle with these terms and conditions? Surely this cannot be right? It is not the fat-cat earners that are going to be affected here under this Bill, but the average man like myself who earns a modest wage, but has committed his years of service to his company.

The decommissioning of Bradwell Reactor Site is due for completion by 2019, where my employment will be terminated (severed) prior to this date. This is due to reducing staff levels within Magnox Ltd as each site come to a close. My termination of employment will fall well short of the normal retire age, where the proposed Enterprise Bill (Exit Cap) will come into full effect due to its impacts on the pension scheme. I don’t have any choice in this matter !

Myself & many of my colleagues were always aware, that the industry would never see us out until the end of our working lives. That is simply the nature of the Nuclear (Magnox) Industry, However we always had a little comfort inn the knowing that we had a robust & secure pension scheme in place. So how I always looked at it was this, if I worked hard & stayed loyal to the organisation, there would be a fair reward at the time I would likely be severed.

I am a hard-working local man, who has simply worked in the same place for the past 40 years. I do not earn astronomical wages. I am NOT a fat-cat, yet for my sins, the Government is going to introduce a Bill that contains a clause which deeply affects me. How is this possible when I work for an independent company that has thrashed out its own terms and conditions over many years between itself and its employees? It is not the fact the we will ‘only leave this company with £95k’ that is my problem, but it is the fact that the Government will affect our pension scheme and that it is interfering in the T’s and C’s of this independent company. This is just so wrong. The Bradwell site is due for completion by will be

I would be available, along with other people from my organisation to discuss this matter further, to demonstrate how it affects our pensions and how unjust this is because the consequences of the Bill would be directly contrary to the intentions of parliament in previous pension protection legislation under the energy privatisation legislation 2005. It goes against all the agreements and individual contracts of employment of the Magnox Ltd workforce. We are not fat cats, but electricians, maintenance fitters and nuclear technicians who have served the nuclear industry for many years by providing the nation’s energy, and ensuring the safe disposal of nuclear waste and decommissioning of plants.

I really don’t know how a company which was privatised in 2005 and had to change its pension scheme to conform to the privatisation legislation now finds its pensions coming, once more, under the public sector, without any reference to parliament.

Please, please fight and challenge this, or battle to get Magnox Ltd and similar companies removed from the Bill.

February 2016

 

Prepared 18th February 2016