Tug worker strike could impede Royal Navy vessel movement, union warns

A potential strike of tug boat crews could disrupt the movement of Royal Navy vessels in five UK ports, workers union Unite has warned.

The tug boat crews are deciding whether to go on strike after their call for a pay rise had been rejected. Voting papers for strike action will start being delivered from Friday (6 October) to the tug boat crew, who work for the company on the Ministry of Defence contract in five ports. It will close on October 20.

The ports that could be affected by the strike are Greenock, Faslane, Kyle in Scotland, Devonport and Portsmouth, the home base of the navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Unite national officer for the docks Bobby Morton said: “If our members vote for strike action it will create choppy waters industrially and be highly disruptive as naval vessels need the tugs to help navigate them to open water.

“Serco Marine Services has imposed a derisory pay award when inflation is taking off – the retail price index (RPI) is standing at 3.9 per cent currently.

“The maths doesn’t add up for our members who are struggling with rising household bills. They need to be recognised for the skilled work they do in all weathers.

“The only way to settle the dispute is for the company to withdraw the unilateral imposition of the pay award and return to the negotiating table with Unite for constructive talks.”