Warship manufacturer employees set to strike over '£4 pay gap'

Workers will stage a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday after last-ditch discussions ended without resolution.

Glasgow warship manufacturer BAE System subcontractors at Wincanton to strike over ‘£4 pay gap’ iStock

Work at two Glasgow shipyards is to be stalled as employees who distribute safety equipment have are to strike over a pay row.

Trade union GMB confirmed that more than 50 store operatives serving BAE Systems’ warehouses in Govan and Scotstoun will undertake 24 hours of strike action from Wednesday as last-ditch discussions and pay talks with subcontractor Wincanton ended without resolution.

Over 95% of members previously voted to support strikes against the pay policy in a full statutory industrial action ballot.

Workers will walk out between 00.01am and 11.59pm on Wednesday, October 19.

It comes after GMB said that a pay gap of over £4 an hour exists, with the majority of subcontractors paid £9.90 an hour while a dozen staff previously transferred from BAE Systems paid over £14 an hour.

The union said that efforts to avert a strike on Monday collapsed after Wincanton failed to meet union demands for an equalisation of the hourly rate of pay across store operations

GMB Scotland organiser, Dom Pritchard said: “The failure of Wincanton to value their workers equally and properly means production will be affected on the delivery of the frigate programme for the duration of this strike action – BAE Systems staff will not get the tools and PPE needed to do their jobs on Wednesday.

“Wincanton and BAE Systems have knowingly allowed this pay gap to fester between store operatives doing the same job despite the fact that both firms could easily afford to lift-up wages for everyone through the eye-watering revenues and profits they generate. 

“Let’s be clear, the frigate programme is worth billions of pounds, and it is vital to our future security, but it is an affront to UK shipbuilding, and it should shame the MoD, that we have workers receiving less than £10 an hour on large-scale defence projects.

“Our members are struggling to stay above the breadline in the grip of this deepening cost of living crisis and their strike is a direct response to the threats of in-work poverty and inequality that Wincanton and indeed BAE Systems have left unchallenged.”

A BAE Systems spokesman said: “This is a matter for Wincanton and its workforce.

“We have made temporary arrangements to ensure there is no impact to our activities should the strike action take place this week.”

A spokesperson from Wincanton commented: “We value the vital work our colleagues carry out every day and the offer we have put forward is fair and competitive. We remain committed to finding a resolution that satisfies all parties.”

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