Unite says Marine Scotland strikes on after impasse in talks with Scottish Government
- Tuesday 24 May 2022
Unite the union has confirmed today (Tuesday 24 May) that strike action at Marine Scotland will go ahead following a failure by the Scottish government to make an improved pay offer.
The trade union has been engaged in several rounds of discussions with the Scottish government following a two per cent pay imposition for 2021, which Unite contests could constitute an ‘unlawful inducement’. However, with the Scottish Government refusing to re-open pay talks for 2021, strikes are to go ahead.
Unite members at Marine Scotland in seafaring roles will now take part in two separate periods of 48-hour strike action involving Marine Protection Vessels (MPV) Hirta on 26 and 27 May, and Jura on 3 and 4 June. The vessels are normally based at Aberdeen harbour.
Unite represents around 80 Marine Scotland workers based at Scotland's fisheries protection fleet including engineers, cooks, petty officers, merchant officers, mate and deck hands.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The Scottish government is playing fast and loose with the law in order to impose an unacceptable pay cut on Unite’s members at Marine Scotland. Our members have no choice but to go on strike to win a pay deal that helps to protect them and their families from this raging cost of living crisis.
“Unless there is sensible movement by Marine Scotland and the Scottish government then we do not rule out further action. Unite at all times has zero hesitation in defending our members’ jobs, terms and conditions.”
Marine Scotland is responsible for ensuring that fishing fleets comply with the law when catching fish. By preventing overfishing or the wrong size of fish catch, the workforce helps to ensure that fish stocks in Scotland’s seas are sustainable.
Sandy Smart, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite has met with Marine Scotland several times now with a view to resolving the outstanding pay issue from last year. However, Marine Scotland and the Scottish government are refusing to move on this, and instead they are telling our members to concentrate on this year’s pay. This is completely unacceptable because it would mean that for the majority of our members they would only get around 2.3 per cent when inflation has hit a 40-year high of 11.1 per cent.”
An unlawful inducement – when an employer imposes a pay award against the wishes of the workforce – breaches collective bargaining arrangements. By doing this, the Scottish government could be potentially in breach of the law.