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Unite warns of jobs fallout from failure to build Sizewell C

Words: Huw Morris

Around 10,000 high-skill jobs in the nuclear construction industry are under threat if Sizewell C does not go ahead, according to the country’s biggest trade union.

Unite is backing the Sizewell C Consortium of major contractors which has warned that a failure to build the Suffolk plant could cost as many as 10,000 specialist construction and engineering jobs.

The move follows Hitachi’s decision to pull out of the Wylfa nuclear power plant in Anglesey, with Horizon Nuclear also announcing it will be ceasing its activities to develop two projects in the UK following that decision.

Unite said the threat to jobs should focus the minds of ministers on the need for a coherent UK energy policy.

“The Sizewell C Consortium makes a strong case for ministers to get their skates on and approve the go-ahead for the new nuclear power station in Suffolk – thousands of highly skilled jobs hang in the balance,” said Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh.

“It is essential that a skills bridge is created from Hinkley Point, being constructed in Somerset, to Sizewell to ensure that the skills and the knowledge that have been acquired on the initial project can be transferred to Sizewell and are not lost to the country’s skill base.

“Such skills will be in high demand as the economy emerges into the post-Covid-19 world.”

The union called on business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Alok Sharma to bring forward the long-awaited energy white paper and guarantee that nuclear power is a vital part of the energy mix in the years ahead.

Energy giant EDF announced last week that it would recruit 1,500 apprentices if Sizewell C gets the green light. Unite said the move would allow young people throughout East Anglia to have the opportunity “to develop skills for life”.

Image credit | EDF Energy