EDF’s workers’ committee has turned to the French courts in an attempt to further delay the group’s £18bn project to build Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear power plant. Last month, the French utility company had been due to give final approval for going ahead with Hinkley Point. But, a month earlier, this process was put on hold when the workers committee demanded to be consulted on the decision. After its intervention in April, the committee – which is an official body within EDF made up largely of union members – was given three months, until July 4, to say if it would support the project or not. However, this week, the committee filed a legal claim – seen by the Financial Times – alleging that EDF has “refused” to give them key documents and so they “cannot form a clear view on the issue”. Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of the EDF workers ‘ committee, confirmed the legal move and told the FT: “We do not have all the documents necessary to come to an opinion.” “Even if the judges force EDF to give us all the documents tomorrow, it will still be tight to come up with an informed opinion by July 4, so we are also asking for more time,” he explained. EDF said in a statement it had “supplied fully comprehensive information on the project to enable employee representatives to participate in meaningful discussions with management.” Any decision from the workers’ committee is non-binding, and so EDF can push ahead with Hinkley Point regardless. But, legally, EDF has to at least wait for the committee’s opinion before proceeding. A majority of the EDF unions now want to delay any commitment to the Hinkley Point project, in part because the EPR reactor technology that will be used is still untested, with no working example in the world.
FT 23rd June 2016 read more »
Asked why EDF should release confidential documents such as its contract with CGN, Magnaval said “the court will decide”. In its court filing, seen by Reuters, the works council argues that the level of information provided should be on par with the importance of the project. If the court rules against the union, or if it does not issue a ruling before July 4, the works council will refuse to give its view on the project. That will legally be considered as a negative verdict. As the works council’s advice is not binding, EDF will then paradoxically be free to go ahead with the project.
Reuters 22nd June 2016 read more »