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Awards 2024

Sizewell C commits to 'best in class' working conditions

Sizewell C has signed agreements to provide ‘best in class’ employment conditions for the thousands of construction workers who will build Britain’s next nuclear power station.

The signing ceremony
The signing ceremony

Three solidarity agreements were signed on 22nd April 2024 between Sizewell C, its tier one contractors, and the GMB and Unite trades unions.

The agreements set out how Sizewell C will “promote a strong safety culture while providing workers with the highest possible standards of health, safety and welfare services, including mental health services”.

Workers are also promised a high standard accommodation along with “a diverse and inclusive working environment”.

The agreements describe the standards and behaviours expected of everyone involved in building Sizewell C in Suffolk, including a ‘right first time, every time’ approach to construction.

Sizewell C joint managing director Nigel Cann said: “Sizewell C is one of the most important energy projects in the UK and we want it to be one of the best places to work. These balanced agreements will help build a spirit of partnership by giving everyone on the project common goals and clear working arrangements. They put us in an even stronger position as we gain momentum and prepare for site earthworks to start.”

Solidarity agreements already underpin industrial relations at Sizewell’s sister project Hinkley Point C in Somerset, where more than 10,000 people are now working on its construction.

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Sizewell C will appl similar terms and conditions at its site near Leiston in Suffolk. The project expects to employ around 7,900 people during peak construction, a third of whom will come from the local area.

GMB national officer Charlotte Brumpton-Childs said: “Signing this collective agreement for Sizewell C is another step closer to a net zero energy grid. GMB members are proud to be part of the team delivering clean energy for the UK and today’s agreement represent some of the most progressive within the construction sector.”

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “Unite are pleased to sign this agreement which builds on the previous success at Hinkley Point C. It clearly sets out the standards for the future which other employers in this field should seek to achieve. Agreements like this prove that collaborative working of unions with employers is the answer on major infrastructure projects – it’s good for workers and good for the construction industry alike.”

The agreements cover pay and conditions for employees of the tier one contractors who make up the project’s Civil Works (CWA) Alliance, the Mechanical, Electrical & Heating (MEH) Alliance and site operations teams. The agreements will apply throughout the construction of the power station.

Approximately 600 people are already working at the Sizewell C construction site, and the workforce is expected to increase to around 1,500 by the end of 2024. Recent activity has focused on clearing the site for full construction, carrying out archaeological surveys, and local mitigation work. Preliminary earthworks to prepare for the construction of a concrete batching plant and water desalination facility are due to begin in the coming weeks.

The government is currently trying to raise £20bn private equity from investors to build Sizewell C. A final investment decision is expected later this year.

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