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Defence workers strike today over ‘derisory’ pay offer

Unite | Unite

2 min read Partner content

Workers at the cash-rich Defence Support Group (DSG) started a rolling programme of strike action today (Wednesday 15 October) in the dispute over pay in the run-up to the group being sold off to the private sector next year.

More than 800 employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, started a 24 hour strike at 00.01 today – with the prospect of more industrial action on the cards, unless the management gets around the table to negotiate a fair and equable pay settlement.

The main sites are at Bovington (Dorset), Catterick (north Yorkshire) Colchester, Donnington (Shropshire), Sealand (north Wales), Stirling, and Warminster (Wiltshire).

The further action already agreed is:

• Workers at Donnington and Sealand will strike for a further 24 hours starting at 00:01 tomorrow (Thursday 16 October)

• Staff at Catterick and Stirling will strike action for 24 hours commencing at 00:01 hours on Thursday 23 October

• Employees at Bovington, Warminster and Colchester will strike for a further 24 hours from 00:01 hours on Tuesday 28 October

The workers, who maintain, repair and overhaul military air and land equipment for the Ministry of Defence (MOD), are seeking an eight per cent pay rise for 2014.

Unite national officer for the MOD and government departments Mike McCartney said:

“Our members voted overwhelmingly for strike action because of the one per cent derisory pay offer, as well as the unknown future they face being sold off to the private sector.

“Early indications today show strong support for this strike. Further industrial action, beyond what has already been announced, is on the cards, unless the management gets around the table to negotiate in a constructive and positive fashion.

“DSG will probably be sold off to the private sector in 2015 and our members want to be able to take with them to their new employer, a decent rate of pay which can be consolidated for pension purposes.

“DSG has cash reserves of £65 million, which will go back to the Treasury, once the sale has been completed. The current DSG management can afford to give a substantial pay rise to the workers who have made DSG such a success story.”

The sell-off of the DSG was heralded by the coalition’s 2010 strategic defence review, but the process has been dogged by the issue of third party intellectual property rights.

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