Tens of thousands of union members in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) began voting this week in an indicative ballot for industrial action over job cuts and privatisation.
Over 20,000 MoD jobs are under threat from either job cuts or privatisation.
The FDA, Prospect, PCS, Amicus, GMB, T&G and Ucatt unions are balloting their members. The MoD wants to cut 14,000 civilian posts across the country in areas including aviation repair, army repair, defence logistics and the defence supply chain.
Any industrial action would be subject to a further ballot.
Brett Davis, an Amicus shop steward at Abro Donnington where a strong campaign recently beat off privatisation, spoke to Socialist Worker. Brett said, “People are really up for taking action. With the mess the government is in at the moment if we take action we can really rock it.
“This is all part of New Labour’s neo-liberal agenda. It wants to cut jobs to make the industry attractive to the private sector. It is similar to what is happening in health and education.
“It would be great if as workers we were making socially useful things, instead of arms. But this is work for people.
“The government wants to privatise the work so companies can make a profit. It will become like the US, where the figures in companies like Halliburton are close to the Bush government.
“Companies would be able to pressure New Labour to go to war to boost their profits. We want to beat back all the privatisation agenda.”