Posted: Tue 21st Nov 2023

Over 400 workers at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead vote to strike, could hit Royal Navy sub construction

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Nov 21st, 2023

Royal Navy Dreadnought submarines and Type 26 frigates, key components of the UK’s defence capabilities, are facing potential delays as over 400 workers at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead have voted to strike.

The decision, driven by a dispute over pay and conditions, was announced by the Unite and GMB unions, representing the workforce including welders, pipefitters, electricians, and office staff.

The vote, which saw a majority of 94% (GMB) and 96% (Unite) in favor of the strike, highlights the escalating tension between the workforce and the management over the issue of fair compensation.

Workers have been offered a 6% pay increase, which they argue is insufficient, especially considering the inflation rates that have exceeded 10% earlier this year. This disparity has been a significant factor in the decision to strike.

The potential strike at Cammell Laird, a key player in the UK’s maritime defence industry, not only impacts the Royal Navy projects but also affects the construction of various commercial vessels, including ferries and support vessels for the oil and gas industry.

The wide-ranging impact of this industrial action underscores the critical role of shipyard workers in both national defence and commercial sectors.

Albie McGuigan, GMB Organiser, emphasised the workers’ frustration, stating, “These are skilled workers doing vital work for the Royal Navy and the commercial sector. Yet because of Cammell Laird’s poor response to their pay claim and unnecessary delays they’re struggling to keep up with the cost of living. It’s no wonder they’re frustrated, angry and have voted to strike with a huge majority.”

Echoing this sentiment, Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary, criticized Cammell Laird’s stance on the pay dispute, “Cammell Laird has signed contracts worth hundreds of millions with the UK Government to build and maintain their ships, yet thinks it can get away with cutting our members’ pay in real terms. Unite won’t stand for such behaviour or any attempts by management to bully, harass or discriminate against our members.”

The announcement of the strike dates is awaited, and it is expected to have a significant impact on the shipyard’s operations.

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