Unite Scotland has confirmed that around 70 of its members who provide specialist services for the UK’s nuclear deterrent submarines will start an overtime from Tuesday (16 November) at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot (RNAD) Coulport.

Unite has severely criticised the ‘delay tactics’ employed by the ABL Alliance following 90.5% of its members at RNAD Coulport voting ‘yes’ in support of strike action, and 95.3% supporting action short of a strike. To date, the ABL Alliance employers have refused to meet the RPI inflation pay claim (3.8% - July) made by Unite. 

The workers involved in the dispute provide care and maintenance services for the weapons systems on the Royal Navy nuclear armed submarine fleet. It is understood that due to the specialist nature of the services provided that even an overtime ban could potentially ‘cripple’ the effective running of operations at the naval bases. 

The ABL Alliance was awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide services for the weapon system at Coulport, as well as the Strategic Weapon Support Building (SWSB) Faslane. The Unite membership involved in the dispute are employed by three separate employers: AWE plc, Babcock Marine (Clyde) Ltd, and Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems Ltd. 

AWE workers are involved mainly in the maintenance side of the weapon system operation, whereas the Lockheed Martin workers are responsible for specialist engineering and quality control. Babcock workers provide the Jetty Services at RNAD Coulport.  

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at (RNAD) Coulport have been left with no option but to take industrial action. The attitude adopted by the ABL Alliance has been disingenuous and they have deliberately frustrated the process in an effort to prevent our members getting a decent and fair pay. Our members will have our full support in their battle for justice in the workplace.”   

Stevie Deans, Unite regional coordinator, added: “The ABL Alliance employers have continued to use delay tactics over 6 weeks since our members voted for industrial action. Instead of using this period to find a positive resolution to the dispute, the ABL Alliance have dangled the promise of new offers in front of our members, and then blamed other parties including the Treasury for absolutely nothing concrete coming forward. It’s part of a charade to spin this out and our members won’t tolerate this anymore. A continuous overtime ban is now set to start, and if this doesn’t knock some sense into the companies then all options remain on the table for us including strike action.”