Enterprise

Written evidence submitted by Nick Banning (ENT 64)

HOUSE OF COMMONS ONGOING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

I am a long serving (28 yrs.) employee of Magnox Ltd and wish to express my very real concern that the Enterprise Bill 95K cap will have on my life, as well as my co-workers in a similar situation to my own.

I have sadly come to the conclusion the Governments manifesto intention, to penalise so called ‘Fat Cat’ exit payments, was merely a very clever ploy sold to voters to entrap and penalise ALL public sector workers. I would be interested to understand the Ministers definition of a Fat Cat? If you were to ask the general public to define Fat Cat I believe their description would be the types of people exposed in the media who have received hundreds of thousands of pounds for short contracts because they either failed miserably at their job or the department they were working in was poorly managed.

I am not a Fat Cat! I am a local law abiding, tax paying father and husband who has dedicate the bulk of their working life to Magnox Ltd, both in generating electricity and now in nuclear decommissioning. I could have left Magnox many years ago after Dungeness A stopped generating and entered into the private sector on much higher remuneration, however, I was persuaded by the Company like many of my co-workers to stay and help with the legacy nuclear clean-up as our knowledge and expertise was deemed invaluable to ensuring costs and schedule were kept to a minimum while maintaining our proud safety record during the works ahead. As a reward for my loyalty, I was ‘guaranteed’ a final severance and pension package because ultimately I was working myself out of a job at an age that would prove very difficult to find suitable alternative employment and continue a reasonable standard of living for my family.

As you are probably aware, Magnox is currently going through a huge restructuring programme this year to reflect a revised business programme and many people will be made redundant as a result of this, not a big surprise as I have already surmised to you. However, the people that are required to stay (like myself) for just a ‘few more’ years again because of our knowledge and expertise, will be discriminated against because we will be caught by the 95K cap rule.

By staying loyal to Magnox I have upheld my part of the agreement with professionalism and pride, however, the Government has now scrupulously decided to renege their part on the 11th hour of the Magnox decommissioning programme!

The majority of power station workers live local to their respective station and I’m sure you will appreciate these stations were strategically positioned remotely from large towns or cities for obvious safety and political reasons. Working in the nuclear sector is a considerably specialised occupation, the in-house training and qualifications I have acquired over the years are specifically unique to the industry and have little merit in the outside work environment. I am for a better word considered ‘institutionalised’ at my age and will find it extremely difficult to find alternative work that suits my particular set of skills within my local area.

For the past 10 yrs. I have made plans and provision for the eventual time I am to be made redundant on the strength of a final salary severance and pension package agreement I was categorically promised I would have should I stay loyal to Magnox. I cannot get those years back to reconsider my options, retrain or re-qualify for a suitable alternative career change. I feel, like so many of my co-workers with long service that our ‘usefulness’ to the decommissioning program has been bled dry and we are now to be unceremoniously cast aside as if our years of contribution to the industry didn’t matter!

This Bill has a profound effect not only on my life, but also my family’s life and the lives of many of my co-workers in a similar situation should Magnox not be excluded. This is not the initial intention of the Bill I and a great many people I know and work with voted for at the last General Election. I implore you to please do the right thing and help get Magnox excluded from the Bill.

Thank you in advance for your support.

February 2016

 

Prepared 22nd February 2016