Posted: Wed 13th Mar 2024

Deeside politician calls for MoD to get round table with employees in bid to end pay dispute at DECA Sealand

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Alyn and Deeside Senedd Member Jack Sargeant has called upon Defence Equipment & Support (DECA) and Trade Union representatives to engage in ‘meaningful’ discussions to resolve an ongoing wage dispute.

DECA Sealand is a Ministry of Defence Executive Agency that provides the defence sector with essential services, including the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of military, avionic, and electronic equipment.

Despite the agency’s pivotal position within the defence sector, Unite Union says workers at DECA have faced stagnant wages and minimal pay increases for over a decade.

The ongoing strike, which has now stretched to six months, centres around demands for pay awards that adequately reflect the rising cost of living and its impact on workers’ family budgets.

Jack, who has previously shown solidarity with DECA workers on the picket lines, underlined the workers’ dedication to their jobs and their eagerness to find a resolution that would allow them to return to work.

During an exchange in the Senedd on Tuesday, he pressed the Welsh Government for a statement on how it could facilitate a dialogue between employers and workers.

Jack asked Minister for North Wales Lesley Griffiths: “You’ll be aware that workers in DECA in my constituency have been on strike now for six months. Working people do not want to be on strike. These workers are proud of their high-skilled jobs and they want to return to work. For this to happen, we need a resolution everyone can support, or the employer to get back around the table and listen to working people. Frustratingly, Minister, this resolution is yet to be found between the employer and the workers. Can I ask for a statement from the Welsh Government about how the Welsh Government can encourage employers to engage with workers and trade unions in a meaningful way?”

The Minister responded:

“Thank you. I think you’re quite right, nobody wants to be on strike, and it is really important that the employer in this case, the Ministry of Defence, does get around the table with the workforce. I think the majority are probably represented by Unite, and you know that the Welsh Government is absolutely an advocate for social partnership.”

Speaking after, Jack said:

“I would urge DE&S Deca to get round the table and speak to Unions to resolve this issue. These are skilled workers who want to be in work, not striking, but they need a fair pay award to do that.”

Carl Richards, Lead Representative, Unite the Union, DE&S Deca, added:

“On a typical picket at DE&S Deca Sealand in North Wales, the combined experience of the picketers for their work at that site is around 2000 years. These skilled workers want to be back supporting UK Defence and are frustrated by the apparent apathy of the employer to resolve a dispute that it has created over the past decade.”

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