ABL Alliance staff to protest over pay row

Workers at a nuclear naval base in Scotland have announced that they will take industrial action against their employer due to a dispute over pay.

The staff are employed by the ABL Alliance, which is a co-operation between AWE, Babcock Marine and Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems, provides engineering, maintenance and other services at the base at Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) Coulport in Argyll and Bute.

According to Unite Scotland, ABL Alliance has refused to meet its inflation pay claim of 3.8% for staff, of which 91% voted yes in support of strike action. Due to the specialist nature of the services at the naval base, industrial action from employees could reportedly “cripple” the running of operations.

In addition, around 70% of staff who provide specialist services for the UK’s deterrent submarines will start an overtime ban this month (November).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham commented that union members at Coulport have been left with no option but to take industrial action.

“The attitude adopted by the ABL Alliance has been disingenuous and they have deliberately frustrated the process in an effort to prevent our members getting a decent and fair pay. Our members will have our full support in their battle for justice in the workplace,” she said.

Stevie Deans, Unite regional co-ordinator, added: “The ABL Alliance employers have continued to use delay tactics over six weeks since our members voted for industrial action. A continuous overtime ban is now set to start, and if this doesn’t knock some sense into the companies then all options remain on the table for us, including strike action.”

A spokesperson for AWE said: “Unfortunately, at this time the ABL Alliance has been unable to reach a satisfactory resolution with Unite Scotland. We continue to keep dialogue open with the union and in the interim, measures to mitigate the impact of industrial action are being implemented. We are working closely with the Ministry of Defence to support continued safe operations at RNAD Coulport.”