Members of Unite at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases on the Clyde are to vote on industrial action, accusing their employer of attacking 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.
“Babcock Marine has engineered a complete breakdown of normal relations between workers and management,” said Unite regional officer Stephen Deans. “Our fear is that they want to try and undermine workers’ rights and make it easier for the company to cut jobs and service quality through more outsourcing.
“There has been a total lack of engagement with our representatives and a total lack of respect for their vital role in safeguarding the interests of workers,” he added. “Our members have told us clearly that they will not sit by while their representatives and their union structures are attacked in this way. The union is now acting on their wishes.
“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 a successful business, or does it want to go down the road of a Victorian mill-owner who cares nothing for his employees except what he can squeeze out of them.
“We’ll be taking this issue to the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government and Westminster. Our elected politicians need to be clear who they stand with – hard-working staff or badly-behaving big business.”
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.