Prospect started the petition in response to the start of consultation on reforming two final salary pension schemes for nuclear decommissioning workers on Monday 9 January.
The schemes affected are the final salary sections of the Combined Nuclear Pension Plan (CNPP) and the Magnox Electric group of the Electricity Pension Scheme (ESPS).
More than 11,000 active members of these schemes are being consulted on two proposals for reform.
- a shift from a final salary scheme to a career average one as well as increasing members’ contribution rates by 3.2% of pay and increasing pension age to 65 and higher.
- capping the pensionable pay for members of the pension schemes affected.
Either proposal would reduce the pension earned by nuclear decommissioning employees by hundreds of millions of pounds.
The average member would lose tens of thousands of pounds over the course of their retirement.
The members affected work at nuclear facilities around the country, but the single biggest group affected work for Sellafield Ltd.
The proposals are expected to feature heavily in the anticipated Copeland by-election.
Prospect deputy general secretary Dai Hudd said: “The petition has taken off so quickly because the proposed changes are unfair and totally unjustified.
“Our members are, rightly, extremely angry that there are any proposals for reform. They have kept to their part of the agreement with government to make a success of the privatisation of decommissioning these sites.
“It is unacceptable for the government to seek to undo pension promises that formed a vital part of those agreements.
“Copeland is a marginal seat, held by a majority of just 2,564 votes at the last election. Many Prospect members affected by the pension proposals live in this constituency. I have no doubt that our members will be asking all the candidates to set out their position on the pension proposals,” Hudd concluded.