Prospect warns of pensions action at Babcock

nuclear submarineDefence contractor Babcock faces the faces the possibility of strike action after failing to conduct a meaningful consultation with workers over “draconian” changes to pensions, Prospect has warned.

Babcock, which in November announced a 29% jump in half-year pre-tax profits, has been in talks with unions since December over plans to increase member contributions and reduce benefits for workers at dockyards in Devonport, Rosyth and on the Clyde.

But Prospect, which represents engineers and managers at the firm, says the company’s final response in the consultation process made only “miniscule tweaks” to the original proposals which were “basically meaningless for the majority of members.”

Prospect Negotiator Richard Hardy said: “We genuinely believed that this was going to be proper consultation process. Our members had accepted a need for some change and we were prepared to meet the company halfway.

“Sadly our faith in the company was misplaced, it seems. Babcock has made it clear that it isn’t really interested in engaging in a meaningful way.”

Prospect will now ask members whether or not the proposals are acceptable, and initial soundings are not positive.

Richard Hardy said: “We never use the ‘strike’ word loosely but members are very annoyed with the company over the way it has behaved.”

Prospect members involved in the disagreement include those building the two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy and who maintain and run the Clyde nuclear submarine base.

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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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