Workers at the cash-rich Defence Support Group (DSG) have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a dispute over pay in the run-up to the group being sold off to the private sector next year.
More than 800 employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, voted by 75 per cent for strike action and by 85 per cent for action short of a strike.
The workers had already rejected by a majority of 85 per cent in a consultative ballot the management’s 1 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 8 per cent pay rise for 2014.
Unite national officer for the MOD and government departments Mike McCartney said: “The ballot results reflect the depth of anger amongst our members because of the 1 per cent derisory pay offer, as well as the unknown future they face being sold off to the private sector.
“We will be announcing the dates for industrial action shortly – but in the meantime, Unite urges the management to get around the table to negotiate in a constructive and positive fashion to avert industrial action.
“DSG will probably 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 cash reserves of £65 million, which will go back to the Treasury’s coffers, once the sale has been completed. The current DSG management can afford to give a substantial pay rise to the workers who have made DSG such a success story.”
DSG workers have already 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 the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
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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.