22 March 2017
Strike action to hit Clyde nuclear bases
Members of Unite the union at the Coulport and Faslane naval bases on the Clyde are to strike in a dispute over worker rights with employer Babcock Marine.
A continuous overtime and on-call ban will start on Friday 24 March and will affect all areas at the bases, including the Nuclear Operations Department.
On that day hundreds of Unite members in different roles will also begin a series of staggered periods of strike action that will have an impact on naval operations right up until 15 June.
Unite regional officer Stephen Deans said: “This action will coincide with a particularly busy period at both Coulport and Faslane and will cause major disruption to the day-to-day services that Babcock Marine provides.
“This includes land-based repairs, mail delivery, feeding the Navy sailors at their normal mealtimes, and nuclear operational and waterfront services. There will be a severe impact.
“Our members work hard supporting the Royal Navy’s operations. They refuse to be intimidated by a private company whose biggest interest at the moment seems to be weakening workers’ rights so that it can squeeze all the cash it can from the nation’s defence.”
Unite says that Babcock Marine is carrying out a systematic campaign to undermine workers, including victimising worker representatives, withdrawing facilities for shop steward meetings, and failing to meaningfully consult and negotiate with the trade union.
The company is on record as saying that it is considering further outsourcing of services to outside private companies. Cleaning and housekeeping services at both bases, and security systems services at Coulport, are already being outsourced.
On Thursday 9 March, members of the union voted 99 per cent in favour of industrial action and 96 per cent in favour of strike action.
Unite represents a wide range of workers at Coulport and Faslane, including cleaners, housekeepers, logistics operatives, drivers, mail staff, multi-skilled operators and a variety of trades engaged in land-based maintenance and defect repair.
The union also represents employees carrying out tasks on the nuclear and waterside part of the bases’ operations, including radiation monitoring and strategic weapons support.