England

MoD Donnington workers vote to strike over 'derisory' pay offer

MoD Donnington Image copyright Google
Image caption Telford and Wrekin Council wants MoD Donnington to expand in Shropshire

Ministry of Defence (MoD) workers have voted to strike over what unions have dubbed a "derisory" pay offer.

Unite said workers at MoD Donnington have rejected a 1% rise.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said the action could hamper the base's bid to become the ministry's main logistics hub.

But Telford and Wrekin Labour councillor Bill McClemments said the strikes were "nothing to do with the bid process."

'Pivotal time'

Unite said about 800 of its members employed by the Defence Support Group (DSG) nationwide had "overwhelmingly" backed the walkout.

It said 75% voted for strike action - at a date yet to be confirmed - and 85% for action short of a strike.

Unite officer Mike McCartney said he urged management to negotiate in order to avert industrial action.

DSG employs about 400 workers at the Donnington site, near Telford, which is competing with Bicester in Oxfordshire to be the MoD's sole logistics base.

A spokesman for DSG said: "DSG is part of [the] MoD and as such is restricted like all other government departments to an annual 1% pay increase as announced by the chancellor."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The MoD employs 420 people at four sites in Bicester, including Graven Hill

Mr Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin, said staging a strike would be "ill-judged" and risked jeopardising Donnington's bid.

"People in Bicester will be rubbing their hands with glee seeing that Unite are calling for action at pivotal time in Donnington's history," he said.

Mr McClemments said the strike - a "national issue" - and bid were not linked.

"It's a fair and even process and the national dispute is nothing to do with the bid process," he said.

He said DSG employees at Bicester would also have been balloted over the action.

MoD-owned DSG employs workers who repair and maintain the MoD's land and air equipment.

The ministry undertook a review of the DSG last year with a view to possible privatisation.

The other main sites are at Bovington in Dorset, Catterick in North Yorkshire, Colchester and Stirling and Warminster in Wiltshire.

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