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strike at faslane base on Friday

daily record (Scotish tabloid) | 07.04.2002 13:11 | Peace not War



Fury at MoD sell-off

ANGRY workers at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases are to strike in protest at plans to privatise their jobs.

Yesterday, union chiefs announced a one-day stoppage will be staged on Friday after getting "overwhelming backing" for industrial action.

The strike was to be scheduled for Tuesday but was put back out of respect for the Queen Mum, whose funeral is on that day.

The strike protest follows a Ministry of Defence announcement last month that 3000 workers across the UK would be transferred to the private sector under a £300million cost-saving plan.

Around 750 defence jobs will be axed as a result.

The Clyde bases of Faslane and Coulport will bear the brunt, with the loss of 500 workers.

Support work would be transferred to private contractors Babcocks who also own Rosyth, in Fife.

Speaking at Faslane yesterday, TGWU national organiser Jack Dromey accused Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon of going back on his word to workers.

Dromey said: "There is a sense of bitter betrayal on the Clyde.

"Mrs Thatcher said she would never privatise naval support. In 1995, Labour in opposition branded privatisation insane and pledged no privatisation.

"In 1999, George Robertson praised the Clyde as a model of co-operation, efficiency and effectiveness and, in 2000, Geoff Hoon promised to honour the no-privatisation agreement.

"The Secretary of State has now dishonoured his promise to the Clyde."

Dromey said Friday's stoppage - which could be the first in a series - would not endanger the bases' operational effectiveness or safety of nuclear submarines.

The defence unions plan to hold mass meetings in Portsmouth and Devonport next week, as well as meeting Hoon next Wednesday.

Confirmation of the action came after four meetings yesterday at Coulport and Faslane involving all affected workers. They range from cleaners to scientists.

SNP Defence spokesman Colin Campbell MSP backed the strike decision.

He said: "It is a clear indication of the strength of feeling about Labour privatisation plans."

If the issue is not resolved, it looks set to feature strongly at the Scottish TUC annual gathering in Perth, which starts on April 15.

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Display the following 4 comments

  1. less military is a good thing — cob
  2. Pacifism is reactionary — red'n'black
  3. Q&A — eriblr
  4. Response — red'n'black