Strike action by Babcock Aerospace workers at RAF Leeming, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, over a ‘plane wrong’ £5,000 pay disparity will increase in length and frequency until the dispute is settled, Unite said today (Thursday 25 February).

More than 50 Babcock workers, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, have been on strike since 20 January.

The Unite members voted in favour of strike action after being refused shift pay, even though their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it for performing the same duties. 

The difference in take home wages between those who receive shift pay and those who do not amounts to around £5,000 a year.

Since the strikes began, more Babcock staff have joined Unite, swelling the number of picketing workers by around 30 per cent.

A fresh wave of strike action will take place between 2 March and 26 March, with individual actions being escalated to 72-hour periods. 

The workers will be holding socially distanced picket lines outside the main entrance to RAF Leeming during the strikes (see notes to editors for strike times and dates). 

Unite regional officer Neil Howells said: “Babcock’s insistence that its RAF Leeming staff receive £5,000 a year less than their colleagues elsewhere is just 'plane wrong'. Our members do not want to continue striking, but it is that or be treated as second-class employees.

“Babcock knows this dispute is only going to get worse, as demonstrated by the fact that more and more of its RAF Leeming staff are joining the union and taking a stand against the company’s unfair pay policies. 

“Unite calls on Babcock to stop the disruption to RAF Leeming operations by presenting an acceptable offer on shift pay.

“We also urge chancellor Rishi Sunak to stand up for these workers, many of whom are his constituents, and intervene with Babcock on their behalf.”   

ENDS

Babcock Aerospace staff at RAF Leeming will take discontinuous strike action over the following dates:

Commencing at 07.00 hours on 2 March 2021 and continuing each day up to 5 March 2021 when the action will conclude at 07:00 hours    

Commencing at 07.00 hours on 9 March 2021 and continuing each day up to 12 March, 2021 when the action will conclude at 07:00 hours   

Commencing at 07.00 hours on 16 March 2021 and continuing each day up to 19 March, 2021 when the action will conclude at 07:00 hours   

Commencing at 07.00 hours on 23 March 2021 and continuing each day up to 26 March, 2021 when the action will conclude at 07:00 hours   

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.
 
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.