Unite general secretary Len McCluskey is meeting with striking workers at the Coulport and Faslane naval bases today, assuring them of the union’s full support.
Members of Unite started strike action at the bases on Friday (24 Mar) in a dispute over worker rights with employer Babcock Marine – despite a last-minute challenge by the company at the Court of Session. Their application for an interim interdict to stop the industrial action was thrown out, and described as ‘incompetent’.
Len McCluskey is to meet shop stewards and workplace representatives, and will address a mass meeting of workers in Helensburgh.
Len McCluskey said: “I wanted to meet our members at Faslane and Coulport to show solidarity and to demonstrate that they have the full support of their union in this dispute.
“Babcock Marine has behaved incredibly badly. Instead of taking legal action, they should have been showing a genuine willingness to resolve this dispute.
“The company has deliberately set out to weaken the rights of workers at the bases. Our members are right to be concerned that they are being softened up in advance of an attack on their jobs, pay and conditions.
“Our members are taking a stand and the whole of Unite stands alongside them. This dispute will only be resolved when Babcock Marine stops attacking workers and starts behaving like a reasonable employer.”
The industrial action at the home of Trident nuclear submarine fleet involves a continuous overtime and on-call ban. 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.
Unite says that Babcock Marine has been 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 company is on record as saying that it is considering further outsourcing of services to outside private companies. Cleaning and housekeeping services at both bases, and security systems services at Coulport, are already being outsourced
Notes to editors
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / firstname.lastname@example.org