Settle and avoid strikes at nuclear bases – plea by MP

MP Alan Reid has called on union members and management at Faslane and Coulport to settle their differences.

Reacting to the vote of Unite members at the nuclear sites in favour of industrial action, the Argyll and Bute MP called on the union and Babcock to get round the table.

Mr Reid questioned Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley, in Parliament last Thursday.

He asked if the Ministry of Defence had said that Babcock must stick to the public sector pay restriction of 1%.

Mr Lansley answered saying that the MoD had no direct involvement in the pay offer.

Speaking afterwards, Alan Reid said: “The Government tell me that the Ministry of Defence has no direct involvement in this pay dispute.

“Babcock and Unite must get round the table and settle their differences. A strike is not the way to settle this dispute and must be averted.”

The exchange in the House of Commons last week was as follows.

Mr Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute) (LD):

Unite’s members at the Faslane naval base in my constituency have voted for strike action over the Babcock offer of a 1% pay increase. According to Unite, Babcock claims that the Ministry of Defence says that it must stick to public sector pay restrictions, but that does not seem to apply at other dockyards. May we have a statement on that from the Defence Secretary?

Mr Lansley:

I will, of course, ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to respond to my hon. Friend on that issue. He will know that the MOD is in negotiations with Babcock over the maritime support delivery framework contract, but that does not imply direct involvement in the pay offer, and its relationship with its staff is a matter for Babcock. I hope my hon. Friend agrees that a threat of industrial action is never an appropriate response to such matters, and everybody should be committed to the safe, secure and effective running of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde.