Defence workers to ballot on strike action over pay

Defence workers to ballot on strike action over pay

18 September 2014

Workers at the cash-rich Defence Support Group (DSG) are being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay, as the group faces being sold off to the private sector next year.

More than 800 employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are being balloted for strike action and action short of a strike from tomorrow (Friday 19 September). The ballot will close on Friday 3 October.

The workers have already rejected by a majority of 85 per cent in a consultative ballot the management’s one per cent pay offer for 2014. The main sites are at Bovington (Dorset), Catterick (North Yorkshire) Colchester, Donnington (Shropshire), Stirling and Warminster (Wiltshire).

The workers, who maintain, repair and overhaul military air and land equipment for the Ministry of Defence (MOD), are seeking an eight per cent pay rise for 2014.

Unite national officer for the MOD and government departments Mike McCartney said: “It looks like the DSG will be sold off to the private sector in 2015 and our members want to be able to take with them to their new employer, a decent rate of pay which can be consolidated for pension purposes.

“DSG has a cash mountain of £65 million, which will go back to the Treasury’s coffers, once the sale has been completed. The current DSG management can well afford to give a substantial pay rise to the workers who have made DSG such a success story.

“Feelings amongst our members are running high because of the poor  one per cent pay offer, as well as the unknown future they face being sold off to the private sector.”

DSG workers have received offers of support and solidarity from thousands of Unite members across all 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 senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693 940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.

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.