Unite calls on Babcock Marine to step ‘back from the brink’ as Clyde nuclear naval base workers strike
- Friday 12 March 2021
Hundreds of Unite the union members based at the Coulport and Faslane nuclear naval bases on the Clyde are set to take part in rolling industrial action today (12 March) from 10 a.m.
The strike action follows the ‘overwhelming’ support from its 1000-strong membership where Unite members voted by 95% in support of strike action on a 65% turnout. The rolling strike action will also be held in conjunction with a continuous call out ban and ban on all overtime.
Unite Scotland will be covering the strike action on our social media streams on twitter @UniteScotland and Facebook https://en-gb.facebook.com/UniteScotland/ using the hashtag #TurnTheTide
The strike action takes place in an escalating dispute over pay and bargaining rights with Babcock Marine. The 'industrial' workforce, which covers roles such as electricians, mechanical fitters, plumbers and joiners, have already rejected a pay offer of 1.1% for 2020. For 2021 and 2022, the offer was based on the consumer price index plus 0.5%.
Unite has repeatedly raised concerns over the future of the nuclear naval bases following the imminent outcome of the Ministry of Defence’s Future Maritime Support Programme (FMSP). Unite has warned that splitting national security contracts into smaller work packages endangers the country’s military power and nuclear response capabilities. The trade union has also criticised Babcock Marine management for refusing to engage with Unite on the future shape of the bases following the contract decision, which is expected to be decided upon in April 2021. The contracts are anticipated to run until March 2026.
This week Unite criticised the suitability of Babcock Marine as a Ministry of Defence contractor. Strike action by Babcock staff is also currently occurring at RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire. 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 January over a £5,000 shift pay disparity.
Stephen Deans, Unite regional coordinating officer, said: “The strike action set to take place at the Clyde nuclear naval bases falls fully on the shoulders of Babcock Marine management. Unite representatives have for a number of weeks sought to resolve this dispute. However, the company has taken the deliberate decision to escalate this dispute by refusing to meaningfully engage with us on pay and the future workplace relations at the bases.”
“Any day now we are about to receive the outcome of the Ministry of Defence’s Future Maritime Support Programme, which is potentially worth up to £200m on the Clyde. Instead of discussing with Unite how we can work together following this major decision, Babcock Marine has ignored us and ultimately the workforce. Babcock Marine can pull this situation back from the brink if they finally get back to negotiating with us, but if they do not, then strike action involving hundreds of workers will continue until management see sense.”
Notes to editor:
1. It is estimated that the work from the FMSP will be worth between £175-£200M for the Clyde bases. The figure is based on the Ministry of Defence stating that the FMSP scheme is projected to deliver up to a 30 per cent saving from the previous Maritime Support Delivery Framework, which had a 5-year operating figure of £250M on the Clyde.
Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.