Unite members at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases on the Clyde have voted in favour of industrial action, in a dispute over worker rights.
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.
Members of the union voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action and 99 per cent in favour of industrial action short of a strike.
“Workers need to have their rights respected – otherwise the balance of power is tipped too far in favour of employers, who too often put profits before people,” said Unite regional officer Stephen Deans.
“Babcock Marine has engineered a complete breakdown of normal relations between workers and management at Faslane and Coulport,” he added. “Our members believe the company is deliberately trying to undermine their rights, so jobs and service quality can be cut through more outsourcing. It’s all about money.
“But workers deserve fairness – and that means decent pay, decent conditions, and the right to be properly consulted and represented when decisions are made.
“Babcock Marine has a choice to make. Does it want to be seen as a reasonable employer that respects the rights of workers and sees them as partners for success? Or does it want to continue with an attitude better suited to a Victorian mill-owner?”
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.
The union will now consult with members over the timing and form of any industrial action.