Unite members vote to establish industrial action fund

Rolls-RoyceWorkers at Rolls-Royce have voted for the first time to set up an industrial action fund to defend UK jobs at the company.

The unprecedented move by Unite members saw 84% vote in favour of paying an extra £1 a month on their union subs to form the fund, on a turnout of 71%.

The war chest is expected to grow to £150,000 a year and comes amid warnings of industrial action over Rolls-Royce’s continued failure to offer guarantees over compulsory redundancies.

The highly skilled workforce is angry that despite securing a record $9.2 billion order from Emirates Airlines, Rolls-Royce is ploughing on with plans to cut 2,600 jobs from its aerospace division, which could see compulsory redundancies at a number of sites in the UK as early as next month.

Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: “Rolls-Royce should be in no doubt that our members will not tolerate compulsory redundancies in the UK, whether through workload reductions, management reviews, outsourcing or offshoring.

“The fund will be used to support members at specific sites involved in industrial action to oppose these sorts of job losses.

“Our members have shown great loyalty in building up Rolls-Royce, but are feeling increasingly betrayed by the company’s continued refusal to give assurances on jobs and guarantees over redundancies.

“Given the company’s order book and profit levels, they see the planned job losses and decisions to move work elsewhere as nothing less than the export of UK manufacturing jobs.

“Members have shown that they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is to support industrial action. It’s time that Rolls-Royce gives a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies to avoid the possibility of industrial action.”

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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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