UNION leaders representing thousands of nuclear workers are to discuss calling a strike ballot in a row over pensions.

The unions said 16,000 workers at 19 sites face cuts under plans by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to make savings of £660 million.

The unions said the government’s expectation is that the final salary pension schemes in place across the NDA estate will be reformed by April 2018.

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Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said: “There is no justification for this attack on the pensions of these nuclear workers and their communities.

“These pension funds are in a sound state and underwent considerable reform 10 years ago.

“What the Government are saying is that the privatised site-licence companies who run these nuclear facilities are in fact public sector organisations and therefore Sellafield, Dounreay and Magnox should go through the same reforms as the rest of the public sector.”

Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer, said: “We are urging all our members working for the NDA to resist this proposed Treasury-led ‘raid’ on their pensions. If it is allowed to go-ahead thousands of workers will see their retirement incomes slashed by thousands of pounds.”

An NDA spokesman said: “Specific decisions on how to change the authority’s estate pension schemes have yet to be taken.

“We expect to begin formal consultation on January 9.”