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Strategy, skills and safety top energy agenda

Strategy, skills and safety top energy agenda

Deputy general secretary Dai Hudd, who looks after Prospect’s energy sector, thanked all the lay representatives who work hard day in and day out to look after members’ interests.

Dai Hudd, ESI Conference 2017

Presenting the annual report at the energy supply industry sector conference in early July, he called for a long-term energy strategy from government based on a balanced energy mix with nuclear as a component part. 

Hudd said the government’s decision to withdraw from Euratom as a consequence of Brexit had sent a shock through the industry, leading Prospect to present the evidence and arguments for a new nuclear deal.

Also high on the union’s agenda was safety, with Hudd now chair of the electricity industry’s health and safety committee, national HESAC, for the current year. He said, however, he would like to see more health and safety activists in the union.

He said that for most injuries – trips, falls, musculoskeletal – the industry does pretty well compared with others. But it does not score well on stress, mental illness and well-being.

He said he had been shocked that in poorer areas like Wales, the north west, north east and parts of Scotland, the energy industry compared poorly with other employers.

Another Prospect priority was skills, particularly its campaign to get more women into science, technology, engineering and maths careers.

The union participates in the skills academies for power and nuclear, as well as the body for mining qualifications. “We’ve been working hard to raise skill levels and ensure national standards apply for all training.”

Looking to the future, recruitment was key, and the sector was ripe for a young professionals’ network. “We are swimming against the tide of an ageing workforce but our own statistics show that the growth in employment in many parts of the sector outstrip that.

“So we will be working on initiatives to take our presence and influence into new areas. Our credibility to speak on energy matters derives from our membership in those areas. That’s what guarantees our voice with regulators, the government and employers.”

Photo caption: Deputy general secretary Dai Hudd discusses Prospect's proposals to government on what needs to be done to help UK nuclear overcome the obstacles it faces and realise its full potential
Photographer: Stefano Cagnoni