Belfast Telegraph

Faslane and Coulport civilian staff back industrial action in rights dispute

Civilian staff at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over worker rights.

Members of the Unite union who work in roles involving radiation monitoring, weapons support, cleaning, logistics, maintenance and repairs are to take action over a "systematic campaign to undermine workers".

The union said employer Babcock Marine is considering the outsourcing of services to private companies.

Unite leaders said the company has withdrawn facilities for shop steward meetings and is "failing to meaningfully consult and negotiate with the trade union".

Members of the union voted 96% in favour of strike action and 99% in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

It will now consult members over the timing and form of any industrial action.

Unite regional officer Stephen Deans said: "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.

"Babcock Marine has engineered a complete breakdown of normal relations between workers and management at Faslane and Coulport.

"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.

"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?"

A statement from Babcock said: "We regularly engage with our trade unions on a number of topics and view any concerns that are brought to our attention as a matter of importance.

"We are disappointed with this ballot result, as earlier this week we met with Unite and ACAS where we had constructive discussions and are due to meet again at the end of this month."

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