Unite members who work at RAF Leeming for Babcock Aerospace began three weeks of discontinuous strike action today over a disparity in shift pay.
The trade union says fighter jet training flights at the RAF Leeming base at North Yorkshire face being grounded, as workers at the airbase have begun industrial action against Babcock Aerospace over an annual £5,000 disparity in shift pay.
Unite says its members, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at the base, have begun three weeks of discontinuous strike action as well as a continuous ban on overtime.
The union said that its members voted in favour of the strike action after they were refused shift pay, even though their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales currently receive extra shift pay for carrying out the same work. Unite says the difference in pay between those who receive shift pay and those who do not adds up to a disparity of around £5,000 per yer.
Unite said that stroke action has been forced on its members due to Babcock Aerospace’s “outright refusal to treat them on an equal footing with the company’s other workers”.
Babcock Aerospace staff at RAF Leeming will take discontinuous strike action over the following dates:
- 20 January 2021 commencing at 07.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs on 20 January 2021
- 20 January 2021 commencing at 15.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs on 20 January 2021
- 26 January 2021 commencing at 07.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs on 26 January 2021
- 26 January 2021 commencing at 15.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs on 26 January 2021
- 02 February 2021 commencing at 07.00 hrs to 15.30 hrs on 02 February 2021
- 03 February 2021 commencing at 15.00 hrs to 23.15 hrs on 03 February 2021
Unite regional officer Neil Howells said: “Disrupting the important work that goes on at RAF Leeming is the last thing our members want to do. Unfortunately, Babcock Aerospace has left its staff with no other choice by their outright refusal to treat them on an equal footing with the company’s other workers.
“Compared to their colleagues at RAF Valley, who receive shift pay for the same duties, Babcock’s RAF Leeming staff take home around £5,000 a year less. This is no way to treat a skilled and dedicated workforce and any resulting disruption to training flights will be entirely the fault of Babcock’s intransigence towards ending a clearly unfair pay disparity.
“Unite’s door is always open. We urge Babcock to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible with an offer our members can accept, so that further industrial action can be avoided and operations return to normal.”
A spokesman for Babcock responded: “This action is disappointing, however we do not anticipate any impact to the delivery of services at RAF Leeming and we continue to work with the union towards a resolution.”
It’s #PlaneWrong that our members at Babcock working with 100 Squadron at RAF Leeming don’t receive the same shift pay that workers elsewhere get.
— Unite – North East, Yorkshire and Humber (@UniteNEYH) January 20, 2021