Socialist Worker

Construction workers at Rosyth aircraft carrier site on unofficial strike

by Simon Baskletter
Issue No. 2492

The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth under construction at Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland

The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth under construction at Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland (Pic: Ministry of Defence)

Some 150 construction workers on two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers in Rosyth on the Firth of Forth are on unofficial strike.

The workers "cabined up" on Thursday after management attempted to transfer six workers including two shop stewards.

The workers, who are in the Unite union are directly employed by Balfour Beatty. One told Socialist Worker, "We knew they were just trying to dismantle the strong union organisation on the boat. The managers had been sent in to 'sort them out' or so they thought. But we will be cabined up until this gets sorted.

"We were told there were safety concerns with having guys moving between sites. But guys from one boat have been doing overtime shifts on the other one so we smelled a rat."

Workers decided to stay out after deciding not to believe the management explanations for the supposed transfers. The Balfour contract for the two aircraft Carriers is worth £85 million to the company.

Another worker added, "Balfour Beatty has apparently apologised for their blacklisting but there are still individuals within the business who are anti trade union and take great delight in victimising and intimidating stewards."

One striker told Socialist Worker, "Basically the way the management at Rosyth works is through intimidation. They try to divide and conquer us. We have had a number of issues where we've had to make them listen and they want to break that organisation.

"Initially one boat was better organised than the other. They have tried three times before to try and transfer people to break up the lads."

Another added, "People on other sites should just beware that the sly tactics of the blacklisting days are still around. Across the industry people shouldn't feel victimised or bullied. The bosses need to know that if we all need to walk, we will."

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Article information

Fri 26 Feb 2016, 09:40 GMT
Issue No. 2492
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