EDF Energy is reducing the workforce at its Hinkley Point C project near Burnham-On-Sea by more than half in the coming days because of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The number of workers at the site would be reduced to about 2,000, the company says, adding that the remaining skilled workers will focus on critical areas and work in shifts with extra transport and staggered breaks to minimise contact. EDF has previously stated that there are normally 4,500 workers on site.
The reduction will allow easier social distancing in operational areas and sites such as canteens, an EDF statement said.
EDF Energy says it has already implemented steps such as home working for those who can, temperature checks for people at the site, extra cleaning and changes to movement patterns.
“Keeping this capability intact is essential for a project of critical national importance and an industry which plays a key role in helping the UK reach net zero (greenhouse gas emissions),” the company said.
The GMB Union says it in ‘discussions’ to help secure workers long term futures at Hinkley Point.
Matt Roberts, GMB Regional Officer, says: “After the Prime Minister’s announcement and due to the sheer scale and number of people involved in the Hinkley Point C Project, it has become clear that despite the best efforts of the trade unions, employees, and the Project Board, it has become almost impossible to maintain full operations with the vital new measures introduced to combat COVID19. Safety is everyone’s top priority.”
“We are aware that EDF and the companies involved are exploring options to keep workers, including the new government Furlough scheme, and we will work with them to find solutions to the short term issues thrown up by the current crisis.”
“GMB are in several discussions a day with EDF to ensure that workers get the best deal in the short term, and that we secure their long term future at the site. We are strongly committed to the safety of our members and the future of the HPC Project.”