CONSTRUCTION workers at Hinkley C are allegedly threatening strike action over a pay and bonuses dispute with EDF - as unions consider a new pay offer from the energy giant.

Civil engineers have received an increased hourly rate but have had their performances bonuses withdrawn, a worker at the site has claimed.

There are about 1,000 contractors at the site and many are said to remain unhappy at the replacement milestone bonus, which is alleged to leave them worse off, although an improved offer has been made by EDF and will be considered this week.

One worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “A strike is a big possibility. There have been issues here for the past nine months with the pay situation on site. The next step (after considering the new offer) will be a ballot for strike. The offer is a smack in the mouth to the workers.”

He said around 70-80 per cent of workers support strike action, which could start within four weeks.

A spokesman for EDF said the revised offer is an improved one and is understood to be about a 5 per cent increase on gross pay.

The spokesman said the terms and conditions of employment at Hinkley Point C are “superior to anything you will find in the UK construction industry” and include provisions on holidays, pensions, overtime and welfare benefits not found in other projects.

Unite could not give examples on new milestone payments and would not comment until current negotiations have concluded.

The union reported in June how discussions with employers at Hinkley Point C resulted in an interim agreement over the payment of bonuses during the construction of the power station. 

All parties agreed to take part in a collective differences panel which sought to identify an agreeable long-term settlement of the bonus issue. 

As part of the agreement, interim bonus payments applied until the end of August 2017. The previously approved Civil Engineering Sector Agreement (CESA) for the project, which governs pay and conditions, was implemented from June 1, including the interim bonus arrangements. 

Nigel Cann, Hinkley Point C programme and construction delivery director, said: “Together with our main contractors and trades unions we have been working hard to find a mutually acceptable outcome. We believe that our best and final offer is both fair and reasonable, offering workers an increase in basic pay as well as a bonus rate and other benefits that allows Hinkley Point C to attract, retain and reward the skilled workforce.

“We have worked hard to provide a working environment which is, in the words of the HPC Agreements, “best in class”. This includes excellent welfare facilities at site and a direct employment model, instead of the bogus self-employment arrangements that scar the industry in other projects. 

“We want to ensure this project makes a difference, raising standards of employment and skills. We strongly believe it is now time to bring our discussions to a conclusion and to focus collectively on safe, high-quality delivery of this iconic project.”