The Enquirer understands that construction unions are pushing for a “T5 plus” style pay agreement which will see skilled workers earn at least £50,000 a year in a deal similar to that brokered during construction of Heathrow’s Terminal Five.
The unions have approached preferred bidder Bouygues TP/Laing O’Rourke with a wish list of pay and conditions demands.
But the O’Rourke led joint venture is believed to want to use the industry standard Working Rule Agreement which was so successful at the Olympics.
One industrial relations expert said: “The unions have got pound signs in their eyes and want to negotiate an agreement along the lines of the T5 deal.
“But the world has changed since then and the Olympics was built using the Working Rule Agreement and was a great success.
“If you look at the rates paid by O’Rourke and factor in all the added benefits then skilled workers will be topping the £50,000 a year mark anyway.”
The contract will be worth around £2bn and will create 3,000 construction jobs.
No definite go-ahead has been agreed by client EDF but the Enquirer understands work is expected to start on the main contract before the end of next year.