100 Kaefer contractors to down tools in pay dispute

Unite the union confirmed today (7 April) that around 100 members employed by construction contractor Kaefer Limited are set to take 12 weeks all-out strike action at the Rosyth dockyard.  

The Kaefer workers, which includes painters, cleaners, scaffolders and support service staff, are set to take the strike action from 17 April up to 10 July. Unite claims the strike action will directly threaten progress on the Type 31 frigates contract.

Unite members emphatically supported strike action by 98.4 per cent over the failure by Kaefer to make a formal pay offer. The company following the strike vote made a 7.2 per cent pay offer which has been rejected by the workforce. Inflation currently stands at a forty-five year high of 13.8 per cent (RPI).

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: Unite’s members working for Kaefer are determined to secure a fair pay deal. Kaefer dragged their feet and then made an unacceptable offer following our members’ emphatic decision to vote for strike action. We will support our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions at the Rosyth dockyard.”

Babcock, which owns the Rosyth yard, was contracted as part of the Royal Navy’s £1.25 billion contract for five Type 31 warships in November 2019. Babcock International Group PLC in its latest annual report made an operating profit of £227m in year ending 31 March 2022. 

Bob MacGregor, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The workforce are prepared to take 12 weeks all-out strike action to get a decent wage rise. Kaefer just simply doesn’t get it. The company first refused to make any offer for months, and then they panicked following the strike vote. 

Kaefer in turn are blaming Babcock who own the yard for this situation but it’s a mess they have jointly created. It’s a really shoddy way of managing industrial relations at Rosyth. The imminent strike action will have a knock-on effect for the Type 31 contract, and it will undoubtedly lead to significant delays.”