Fire and rescue workers dispute on the Clyde Naval bases escalates over fire response provision fears
- Thursday 4 November 2021
Unite members working for Capita Business Services Ltd at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde have raised ‘safety critical’ concerns over the effectiveness of fire response cover as workers take part in strike action.
Unite members on the Clyde employed by Capita, who provide onsite fire cover for both Faslane and Coulport naval bases, have been involved in an overtime ban since 16 September, and 6-hour strike action on various days since 19 October.
During these periods of industrial action, HMNB Clyde firefighters have raised concerns over the resilience crews brought in to cover that they may not have the competencies to deal with unique safety critical assets, and risks related to maritime fire-fighting and nuclear radiation.
Unite has been involved in an ongoing dispute over job cuts and health and safety with Capita due to a 15% cut in specialist fire safety crew at Coulport and Faslane. Capita won the contract in 2020 for fire response services from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Industrial action by Unite members on the Clyde has been taken in direct response to cuts in crew levels and ongoing safety critical concerns. Capita should be under no illusions that Unite is determined to fight to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of our members. So, these workers will have the full force of Unite behind them as they seek to protect not only workers on the bases but local communities.”
Debbie Hutchings, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has major concerns over the effectiveness and competence of the replacement crews being brought into cover during periods of industrial action at the Clyde naval bases. We have contacted the MOD with a list of our concerns, and want assurances that they are addressed, specifically, over the necessary standards of training that are expected on site. If we do not receive these assurances then it opens up the real possibility that not only has safety been compromised at the nuclear bases but that it has in fact been permitted by the MOD.”