Armed forces to be sent in to undermine strike

Armed forces to be sent in to undermine strike

06 April 2017

Unite the union has expressed outrage over plans to use members of the armed forces to undermine a strike at the Coulport and Faslane naval bases. 

Yesterday (Wed 5 Apr) the union was informed that Royal Navy personnel will be ordered in by the Ministry of Defence to carry out the duties of civilian staff who are taking part in industrial action against their employer Babcock Marine. 

Unite has accused the company of carrying out a systematic campaign to undermine workers, including victimising worker representatives, withdrawing facilities for shop steward meetings, and failing to meaningfully consult and negotiate with the trade union.  

The union believes that Babcock Marine is trying to undermine workers’ rights to push through further outsourcing at the bases. 

Unite regional officer Stephen Dean said: “Our members have a real commitment to the work they do supporting the Royal Navy – but they are strong and united in defence of their rights.

“It is outrageous for the Ministry of Defence to get involved in a trade dispute in this way, and a clear attack on the democratic rights of our members. The MoD is misusing the nation’s defence staff – ordering them in to help an employer who is attacking workers’ rights. 

“Instead of getting involved in strike-breaking, the MoD should be doing everything it can to get Babcock Marine back around the table. During talks at Acas last week, Unite gave managers a clear list of 12 proposals to end this dispute. They only bothered to respond to five of those – and their responses go nowhere near what our members are demanding.

“Every MP and MSP who believes in the fundamental freedoms of a free society must support the workers on the Clyde, and condemn this blatant attempt to undermine their lawful industrial action by ordering members of the armed forces to do their work.”

Unite represents a wide range of civilian workers at Coulport and Faslane.

On Thursday 9 March, members voted 99 per cent in favour of industrial action and 96 per cent in favour of strike action. 

A continuous overtime and on-call ban started on Friday 24 March. Unite members in different roles are also taking part in a series of staggered periods of strike action that will have an impact on naval operations right up until 15 June.


Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 /