Royal Navy shipyard contractors balloted for strike action

Royal Navy Clyde shipyard contractors balloted for strike action in Glasgow

By Lucy Ashton

Workers at a Clyde shipyard building type 26 Frigates for the Royal Navy have been balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

Unite the union said that over 30 members contracted to work on the new type 26 Frigate on the Clyde are being balloted for strike action

It includes electricians, labourers and cable hands are employed by CBL Cable Contractors Limited based at BAE Systems on the Clyde.

The contractors are demanding to be paid the BAE Systems yard rate, or an additional £1 per hour on top of the current rates of pay.

The dispute also relates to travel related payments which Unite’s members are due as the BAE workplace falls under the scope of the Joint Industry Board Agreement.

The agreement sets the standards for employment, grading and apprentice training in the electrical contracting industry. This includes travel time and the use of a personal vehicle to travel to work which entitles workers to a mileage allowance.

The industrial action ballot opens on November 7 and closes on November 20. If the ballot is successful then strike action could take place from early December.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite members employed by CBL Cable Contractors are an essential part of the workforce building the new type 26 Frigate at BAE Systems on the Clyde.

“Our members are working on a multi-billion pound contract designed to protect and defend the UK but they are instead being treated as second-class citizens on the job.

“This is entirely unacceptable and our members deserve the rate for the job. We will support them all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions as they are entitled to under an industry-wide agreement.”

The union said that the UK Ministry of Defence awarded a £4.2 billion contract to BAE Systems in November 2022 to manufacture the next five City Class Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy in Glasgow. 

The contract is estimated to sustain more than 4,000 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider UK maritime supply chain.

Stevie Dillon, Unite regional coordinator, added: “CBL Cable contractors are currently getting paid well below the ‘shipyard rate’ and they have been for many years. Unite can’t allow this situation to go unchallenged which is why we are balloting our members on strike action.

“If these same workers happened to be working in England or Wales then they would be paid the shipyard rate. So, it’s double standards why are our members on the Clyde aren’t getting what they deserve.”

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