Crews servicing combat helicopters in Suffolk to strike

Engineers in Suffolk who service Apache helicopters deployed to Afghanistan and Libya are planning a strike over pay.

Staff at Wattisham airfield claim to be £3,000-a-year worse off in comparison with equivalent crews in Hampshire.

More than 100 Unite union members employed by Morson Wynnwith have voted to strike within four weeks.

Morson said talks were under way with union representatives at Acas, the conciliation service, and the strike action vote was a disappointment.

Morson said a pay increase had been tabled but this was declined by the union representatives following the ballot.

A spokesman for the company said: "We are currently in the process of conducting a review with representatives from the conciliation service ACAS.

"It is premature for us to comment any further on the findings of this review and to be threatened with a strike action at such a key facility is very disappointing.

"The company remains fully committed to resolving this dispute amicably without industrial action."

Unite regional officer, Mark Robinson said: "We hope to resolve this dispute, as the last thing we want is anything to affect the maintenance of the Apache helicopters that are so vital to the safety of our brave servicemen and women.

"However, our members are angry and frustrated at the company's intransigence to align the salaries at the two sites.

"We believe that work of equal value should receive equal pay. The majority of our members at Wattisham are worse off to the tune of about £3,000-a-year."

Staff voted 71 to 14 in favour of strike action while 81 were in favour of action short of strike.

About 150 maintenance staff are employed at Wattisham and just over 100 are members of Unite.

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