Rolls Royce workers on submarine programme start industrial action

Members of the GMB union working on the Derby-based Rolls Royce nuclear submarine programme have started a programme of industrial action, which will last for one month.

The action follows 90% of GMB members supporting action if the company management failed to propose a pay increase acceptable to the union.

The action taken by GMB members is not a complete strike but rather a “work to rule” approach, meaning they strictly follow pre-agreed terms and avoid any work beyond those boundaries.

Rolls-Royce holds a position in submarine technology globally and serves as a key supplier to the UK’s domestic nuclear submarine fleet.

It says it has ensured that any industrial action will not compromise the UK’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent, submarine safety, or operational capabilities at sea, in agreement with the company.

Mick Coppin, GMB regional organiser, said: “Our members have begun industrial action today after weeks of company bosses refusing to bring a fair pay settlement to the table. These are highly skilled workers at the cutting edge of British manufacturing.

“In a year when company profits have skyrocketed, all workers are asking for is a fair day’s pay. It’s time for company bosses to urgently get back around the table and fix this; our members deserve that.”

A spokesperson for Rolls-Royce said: “Following discussions with the trade unions, we have made an offer to our employees outlining our pay offer for the next two years. This aligns our pay to the upper end of the nuclear industry and, in addition, we have offered a reduction in working time, which can be taken as additional leave for increased employee flexibility.

“We’re pleased to say that Unite, whose members make up the majority within our represented colleague population, have balloted their members and all bargaining groups in Unite have accepted the offer. Unfortunately, GMB, which represents a small proportion of colleagues, do not feel they can recommend the offer.”