BLUE AND white collar workers united in solidarity last week at two Clyde naval bases, Faslane and Coulport. Around 1,000 white collar staff struck officially on Friday of last week against plans to privatise naval support jobs.
The vast majority of the 2,000 blue collar workers, who are about to ballot on the issue, took unofficial action and refused to cross picket lines. Around 500 workers and supporters then marched through Helensburgh. The strikes closed the two bases, which are the home for the Trident nuclear fleet.
Government plans mean 750 of the 3,000 workforce will lose their jobs. The remainder will be transferred to the private sector company Babcock. To head off further action, New Labour minister Adam Ingram has promised wages and conditions would be guaranteed under the transfer, and that redundancies will be kept to a minimum. But the workforce remains angry and sceptical about any promises from this government.
In opposition Labour strongly opposed privatising the naval support services. The Amicus and TGWU unions are to ballot for industrial action on the Clyde, and mass meetings are being held at the Devonport (Plymouth) and Portsmouth yards.