The workers, who move missiles within the depot, are paid just £20,500 a year – only slightly more than the “National Living Wage”, ie the UK’s stingy minimum wage.
The workers who actually assemble the weapons are paid far more, having won a big increase last year – underscoring that the lower-paid “non-craft” workers are absolutely right to fight.
Their union GMB has strongly and actively supported the Ukrainian struggle against Russian imperialism. While its members work hard to provide Ukraine with much-needed weapons, the Tory government is undermining their work by its determination to keep down wages.
The international labour movement and all supporters of Ukraine must insist the government brings the dispute to an end by accepting the workers’ demand for a decent pay rise.
We encourage UK, Ukrainian and other labour movement organisations and activists to send the workers messages of solidarity. We will get an email address from GMB. Meanwhile please send to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass on.
First in the history of the DES cannot be allowed to carry on, says GMB Scotland
A strike at a Ministry of Defence missile depot will threaten munitions supplies, GMB Union warned.
More than 50 workers at the Defence Equipment & Support (DES) munitions depot in Beith, Scotland walked out tomorrow [Monday].
A majority of 93 per cent of GMB members at the depot voted for strike action over a dispute on retention bonuses.
Managers and craft workers are in receipt of bonuses whilst non-craft workers do not, meaning non-craft workers get less than many supermarket workers.
DES is an arm’s length body of the Ministry of Defence which delivers equipment and support services to the UK armed forces.
Chris Kennedy, GMB Scotland Organiser, said:
“These workers are utterly vital to the UK armed forces – they deserve to be recognised as such.
“Instead, management have allowed a two tier workforce to develop, fostering bitterness and anger among workers.
“Today’s strike is the first in the history of the DES – it cannot be allowed to carry on.
“If the Defence Secretary does not step in to right this wrong, supplies of the crucial missiles manufactured at Beith will soon run low.”