Bosses at a north nuclear plant are preparing to shed up to 15% of their staff as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme.
Progress in decommissioning the Dounreay site in Caithness means that jobs will gradually reduce, while some new projects means a different skill set is required among the workforce.
At present the plant employs around 1,100 people – and up to 150 employees will be invited to apply for a redundancy package.
A further 50 roles currently delivered by agency workers will also no longer be continued.
The redundancy scheme will not affect security at the plant.
A spokeswoman for Dounreay said: “The clean-up of the nuclear estate is a key priority for both the Scottish and United Kingdom governments. Dounreay’s decommissioning is well established with the site due to reach an interim end state by the early 2030s.
“An inevitable consequence of making progress is that jobs will gradually reduce. With a number of projects due to be completed and a different mix of skills required for the next phase of work, some staff are being given the opportunity to volunteer for redundancy. Around 10-15% of staff are expected to be allowed to leave under voluntary arrangements during the next year or so.”
She added that workforce reductions were “long planned for” and investment had been put in place to create new sustainable jobs in the area.
Local MP Paul Monaghan has spoken with the managing director of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) and sought assurances about the plans.
Richard Hardy, Scottish secretary for Prospect, the largest union represented at the plant, said: “No union is ever happy when redundancies are announced. But DSRL’s role is to decommission the site, and as this process progresses, jobs will inevitably reduce.
“Offering voluntary redundancies is a legitimate way to avoid compulsory severances at a later date.
“Prospect is in consultation with the company to ensure that the numbers proposed are appropriate, do not affect the safe operation of Dounreay, or leave remaining staff with increased workloads as colleagues depart.”
Unite regional officer Ian Ewing added: “We are very disappointed and concerned that the company have announced redundancies, when we believe there is enough work to sustain the resources presently employed.”