1 July 2015
RMT Press Office
The current long-running industrial action short of a strike being taken by all RMT members at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary , the Royal Navy supply line, remains strong and is solidly supported by RMT members across the country. The union has issued a selection of examples of the impact of the action taking place:
• No cargo was unloaded by RMT members on-board Fort Austin and Gold Rover
• Social functions on-board RFA Argus have been cancelled as members refused to serve and prepare food for a high profile visit
• Fire exercises are being kept to a minimum on all vessels alongside and members onboard Lyme Bay refused to take part in a disaster relief exercise
• Members are refusing to come off leave early and are demanding that they be released on time
With the industrial action having a clear impact a meeting is planned for this Thursday 2nd July where RMT hopes to receive further written guarantees from RFA that can be examined in detail and that the union would hopes would represent progress towards a position where this dispute can be resolved. RMT has made it clear that it is prepared to up the action to a strike if a negotiated deal cannot be reached.
The issues leading to this dispute include:-
• A failure to agree over banding in the competency based system. RMT believes that all existing employees should be band A or B and new entrants should be band C.
• Apprenticeship terms and conditions have not been agreed with RMT and we believe further work needs to be done on the Under 18’s Policy and Hours of Work for Under 18’s.
• Future employment of Leading Hands (administrative assistants and stores accounts). We do not accept the increased workload placed on the stores accounts members and admin assistants should be retained.
• Tailored Schemes of Complements. A failure by RFA to provide written assurances that members’ will be deployed in the ‘right place at the right time’. We do not accept that the staffing levels proposed on TSoC vessels are adequate.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is unfortunate that the RFA have refused to listen to our concerns in face to face talks and have forced us into a position where we had no alternative but to move to industrial action .
“The issues in dispute are all about valuing a workforce that plays an integral part of the defence of the UK and training that workforce for the future.
“The union salutes our members solidarity and determination to get this dispute resolved.”
Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary, added:
"We understand the importance of the role that every RFA seafarer plays in supporting our Royal Navy, but we fail to understand how the employer can make such massive distinctions between ranks in RFA.
“We hope that with the pressure applied through our rock solid action that we can now get serious discussions underway and reach a settlement.”