Defence workers escalate strike action over real terms...

Defence workers escalate strike action over real terms pay cuts

14 November 2014

Strike action at the cash-rich Defence Support Group (DSG) will be stepped up next week as over 800 members of Britain’s largest union, Unite begin a four day strike on Monday 17 November in an ongoing dispute over a one off non-pensionable one per cent pay rise.

The group, which maintains, repairs and overhauls military equipment for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) faces being sold off to the private sector next year, and was hit by two days of solid strike action in October.

The main sites affected by the latest walkout are at Bovington (Dorset), Catterick (North Yorkshire), Colchester, Donnington (Shropshire), Stirling and Warminster (Wiltshire). 

Unite national officer for the MoD and government departments Mike McCartney said: “With the sale of DSG to the private sector looming, our members want to take a decent rate of pay which can be consolidated for pension purposes to their new employer.

“The one per cent on offer is a real terms pay cut and for many workers feels like a final act of betrayal. The current DSG management can afford to give a decent pay rise to the workers who have made DSG such a success story in supporting our armed forces.

“Feelings among our members are running high not just because of the insulting pay offer, but because of the uncertain future they face of being sold off to the private sector. It’s time management got back around the table and negotiated a meaningful settlement.” 

Since the dispute began, offers of support and solidarity have poured in from other unions and Unite members across the MoD and government departments. 

The sell-off of the DSG was heralded by the coalition’s 2010 strategic defence review, but the process has been dogged by the issue of third party intellectual property rights.


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.