Defence Support Group (DSG) workers walked out on lunchtime protests at sites including Donnington, Catterick, Ashchurch and Bovington on Thursday of last week.
The workers, mainly in the Unite union, were showing solidarity with public sector workers on strike that day (see pages 3,10&11) including their colleagues in the PCS union.
But it was also a way of showing bosses their determination to fight for an 8 percent pay rise, instead of the measly 1 percent being offered.
In Donnington 300 people walked out chanting, “They say one, we say eight, never mind the ballot, out the gate.”
The workers marched to a strike rally with teachers, firefighters, and tax office workers.
They applauded Unite convenor Brett Davis when he said, “If the Tories are trying to make it harder to exercise our right to strike, let’s take them on. We’ll have walkouts.”
DSG, which makes, repairs and maintains tanks and other military equipment, is currently an arms-length subsidiary of the Ministry of Defence. But it is in the process of being privatised.
It has built up a huge surplus that workers say should go to them and the Treasury, not private bosses.
Pay talks could lead to more action if bosses do not agree to workers’ demands.
Unite rep Ollie Jones who led the march in Donnington told Socialist Worker, “We’ve been holding workplace meetings, taking a show of hands asking members whether 8 percent is the right claim and whether they are prepared to take industrial action to get it.
“And the response has been basically 100 percent, so that’s a mandate.”