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Faslane workers to stage first strike in 42 years

Workers at Faslane have been offered a 1.1 per cent pay rise. Picture: Contributed

Workers at Faslane have been offered a 1.1 per cent pay rise. Picture: Contributed

  • by ILONA AMOS
 

WORKERS at the Faslane nuclear submarine base are to stage a two-hour strike next week in a row over pay.

The Unite union said hundreds of its members at the base, and at another site in Coulport, also on the Clyde, will walk out at 10am on 19 February.

There will also be a number of “staged stoppages” from 20 ­February onwards.

It will be the first time ­workers at the bases have been on strike for 42 years.

And following yesterday’s vote, union officials warned the action could “severely disrupt” the running of the nuclear naval and armaments sites at both Faslane, on the Gare Loch, and nearby Coulport, on Loch Long.

A work-to-rule, call-out ban and a ban on all non-contractual overtime will also start on 19 February.

Unite said the action was in protest at a below-inflation one per cent pay rise set by ­employers Babcock Marine.

The union said the firm, part of Babcock International Group, which is responsible for managing the infrastructure at the naval bases, had discriminated against workers at Faslane and Coulport by agreeing a pay deal with employees at Devonport in Plymouth and Rosyth in Fife that matched or was above the rate of inflation.

They said, Babcock Marine had blamed pressure from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to bring down contract costs.

Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: “The first mass industrial action on the Clyde in 42 years should set alarm bells ringing in the MoD and really crystallise the problems created by Babcock’s refusal to negotiate a consolidated pay deal, which it can more than afford.

“Babcock continues to bury its head in the sand by ­refusing our conciliation proposals and stonewalling our calls for ­evidence on the nature of its contract with the Ministry of Defence.

“A prolonged period of industrial action will severely disrupt day-to-day operations at the Faslane and Coulport base, but the workers will strive to ensure the safety of the workforce, the naval base and the local communities will not be compromised.

“Over 800 workers across all aspects of the Clyde’s operations have spoken collectively – they want a fair deal on pay and they want the company to negotiate with their trade union, Unite, to achieve this.”

The action is likely to involve submarine civilian ­support workers, including cleaners, maintenance staff and ­personnel who monitor ­radiation levels and the safe disposal of radioactive materials.

More than 800 workers will strike after a ballot last week showed more than 95 per cent of Unite members backed the action following a turnout of 82 per cent.

By law, the union must give Babcock seven days’ notice ­before strike action begins.

A Babcock Marine ­spokesman said: “Discussions on pay ­negotiations are a matter for Babcock and our employees and we continue to try to find a way forward.”

The MoD previously stated it had “robust contingency plans” in place to deal with any strike by civilian staff at the bases.

A MoD spokesman said: “The MoD is committed to the safe, secure and effective running of HMNB (Her Majesty’s Naval Base) Clyde and has robust ­contingency measures in place.”

SEE ALSO:

Faslane staff vote to strike over pay dispute

 

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