An environmental safety monitor carries out contamination checks in the charge hall inside EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station (Reuters)

EDF Energy has struck a major deal with unions GMB and Unite, benefiting some of the 5,000 workers who will build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The collective agreement applies to electrical and mechanical workers who will work on the project and confirms their pay and conditions of employment, including welfare facilities and training.

The deal ensures, among other things, that there are at least 500 well paid apprenticeships on the project and will also mean no agency electrical and mechanical workers will be hired.

"This ground-breaking agreement reflects the importance that we place on partnerships with our employees and with trade unions to help deliver the UK's first new nuclear power in a generation," said Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy.

He added: "It is important that these jobs are covered by an agreement promoting the very best standards in industrial relations."

The nuclear project is expected to create 25,000 job opportunities in the UK during its construction, including over 400 apprentices, with around 5,000 people working on-site at the peak of construction and then 900 jobs when operational.

"It has taken many months to get the detail right but through hard work and cooperation the unions and employers have an agreement which is fit for a 21st century development to power Britain's homes and businesses," said Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer.

The news follows a deal signed in June by GMB, UCATT and Unite with EDF Energy and the project's principal contractors Bouygues TP/Laing O'Rourke, for a Common Framework Agreement and Civil Engineering Sector Agreement.

The Common Framework Agreement established how industrial relations will be managed on the project and guarantees that the signatory unions will be provided with the necessary facilities to ensure workers are treated fairly.

In addition, the Civil Engineering Sector Agreement established pay rates for the workforce, which are expected to reach £13 per hour in 2014.

The agreement also created, amongst other things, clear rules to ensure that workers will make and receive significant pension payments while working on the project.

Pension payments will begin at £10 per week of matched funding between employers and employees.

By January 2017 workers will see an amount equal to 10% of their pay being placed in their pensions, through 5% matched funding from employees and employers.