Striking defence workers celebrated the last day of their ten day strike with a Christmas party on the picket line yesterday, Friday.
The Unite union members are already gearing up for more action at Defence Support Group (DSG) in the new year in their fight for an 8 percent pay rise.
A reps’ meeting on Wednesday voted to strike again in late January if bosses don’t come back with a better pay offer.
On the same day the government formally announced the sale of DSG to private firm Babcock for £140 million.
DSG repairs and maintains tanks and other military equipment, and its value had been estimated at more than £200 million.
With the handover just months away, this puts pressure on the Tories to settle the dispute before it jeopardises the sale.
Ronnie Simpson, Unite convenor at DSG Stirling, said, "Our members strongly support continuing the dispute if we need to, and Babcock should be worried that their newest acquisition is kicking back.
"They've purchased a problem, and should be applying pressure to resolve it before April."
Brett Davis, Unite convenor at DSG Donnington in Shropshire, told Socialist Worker, “If they’re serious about talking they’d better get doing it after Christmas, because our members will be preparing for more action.”
Carl Richards, convenor at Sealand in north Wales, added, “At DSG they’re realising there’s only so much they can give. The strike has been their way of saying ‘we count too’.
“And it’s galvanised them—showed them that they’re not alone as individuals but have a strength in numbers. Now we have to keep up the momentum and prepare for more action.”
Activists at DSG are organising to make sure that bosses can’t use the next few weeks to wear down the backlog from the last strike and the morale of the workers.
In Sealand there are plans for regular union bulletins, and at Donnington an action committee is being set up to plan lobbies and protests that can keep workers active.
Brett said, “We’re going to hit the ground running when we come back in January. The strike was amazing, and it changed people.
"Being on the picket line brought people together, it created a sense of unity. We’ll be making sure to keep that spirit and enthusiasm alive and ready.”