Socialist Worker

Unofficial strike on aircraft carriers’ site wins

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2493

Blacklisted construction workers protesting at the high court last week. Their case against the construction bosses comes to trial in May

Blacklisted construction workers protesting at the high court last week. Their case against the construction bosses comes to trial in May (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Some 150 construction workers on two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers in Rosyth on the Firth of Forth struck unofficially—and won.

The workers “cabined up” Thursday of last week after management tried to transfer six workers, including two shop stewards.

The Unite union members 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.”

On Monday management agreed not to move the workers and to pay workers for the Thursday.

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 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 should 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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