Union responds to foes of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project

The GMB union issued a statement on Thursday in response to a call to halt the construction of a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset, England.

The Telegraph reported that the Austrian government has issued a legal challenge to the European Commission's decision to provide state aid toward the project, totaling approximately $26.5 billion.

GMB's statement follows the publication in the Ecologist of an open letter by opponents of the project to GMB and Gary Smith, its national secretary for energy.

Smith explains in his response that he understands the concerns that Austria raises, but that opponents' proposed solution would not be effective and that the civil nuclear industry in the U.K. operates safely.

"The truth is there are very few jobs for working-class people in renewables, and those that do exist are invariably not unionized," Smith said. "We did organize a chunk of the sector before solar was cut, and we are the only union with national negotiating rights in the insulation sector. The jobs facts are an inconvenient truth."

Smith also said natural gas and nuclear energy will be a part of the electricity grid in the country for a long time, despite reports indicating the possibility of electricity demand decreasing.

The GMB represents workers throughout the U.K. in multiple industries, including energy.