Unions secure future for naval shipyards

The
first ever strike at Britain’s naval bases has been averted after last minute
talks resulted in guarantees for those workers who were facing privatisation
and job losses.

For
the first time, the Government and private companies have signed a statement of
intent, which is to be underpinned by a written commitment by ministers, the
Ministry of Defence and a statement to Parliament.

The
breakthrough follows a campaign by workers at Devonport and Portsmouth and at
the Faslane and Coulport Clyde submarine bases in Scotland.

The
six defence unions today described the outcome as "remarkable progress,
with stronger guarantees for those facing privatisation than at any time in the
history of the MoD".

Chairman
of the Defence Unions, T&G national organiser Jack Dromey, said: "We
have built a powerful platform for naval base workers who are still bitter over
privatisation, to face the future with confidence. However, we will not rest in
our campaign to stop privatisation proceeding.

"If
ministers put private shareholders above the public interest, then workers now
need not fear falling living standards and compulsory redundancies  after staff transfers.

"Neither
will workers be robbed by privatisation of any benefits in the pipeline on pay
and pensions which are due in late 2002.

The
breakthrough protecting workers rights in the event of privatisation proceeding
will:
● avoid closure, with all naval bases remaining open
● protect post-transfer pay, conditions of employment, pensions and redundancy
entitlements, with no change without negotiation. Any change must be without detriment
to those transferring
● avoid compulsory redundancies, with an agreement, permitting workers facing
compulsory redundancy in the years ahead to transfer back to the MoD.
● prevent those facing privatisation from being robbed by privatisation
of the benefits in the pipeline on new pay and grading structures and pensions.

By Quentin Reade

 

 

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