by Tim Lezard More than 800 Unite members working at the Defence Support Group (DSG) are today being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay, as the group faces being sold off to the private sector next year. The workers have already rejec …

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Defence Support Group DSGby Tim Lezard

More than 800 Unite members working at the Defence Support Group (DSG) are today being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay, as the group faces being sold off to the private sector next year.

The workers have already rejected by a majority of 85% in a consultative ballot the management’s 1% pay offer for 2014. The main sites are at Bovington (Dorset), Catterick (North Yorkshire), Colchester, Donnington (Shropshire), Stirling and Warminster (Wiltshire).

The workers, who maintain, repair and overhaul military air and land equipment for the Ministry of Defence (MOD), are seeking an 8% pay rise for 2014.

Unite national officer for the MOD and government departments Mike McCartney said: “It looks like the DSG will be sold off to the private sector in 2015 and our members want to be able to take with them to their new employer, a decent rate of pay which can be consolidated for pension purposes.

“DSG has a cash mountain of £65 million, which will go back to the Treasury’s coffers, once the sale has been completed. The current DSG management can well afford to give a substantial pay rise to the workers who have made DSG such a success story.

“Feelings amongst our members are running high because of the poor  one per cent pay offer, as well as the unknown future they face being sold off to the private sector.”

DSG workers have received offers of support and solidarity from thousands of Unite members across all MoD and government departments.  

The sell-off of the DSG was heralded by the coalition’s 2010 strategic defence review, but the process has been dogged by the issue of third party intellectual property rights.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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