Fighter jet training flights at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire face being grounded during industrial action by civilian Babcock workers at the airbase over an annual £5,000 shift pay disparity, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 19 January).
 
Around 40 Babcock Aerospace staff, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, will tomorrow (Wednesday 20 January) begin three weeks of discontinuous strike action as well as a continuous overtime ban. 
 
The Unite members voted in favour of strike action after being refused shift pay, even though their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it for performing the same duties. The difference in take home wages between those who receive shift pay and those who do not amounts to around £5,000 a year. 
 
Unite said the workers do not want to take strike action but have been forced to over Babcock’s ‘outright refusal to treat them on an equal footing with the company’s other workers’.
 
Unite regional officer Neil Howells said: “Disrupting the important work that goes on at RAF Leeming is the last thing our members want to do. Unfortunately, Babcock Aerospace has left its staff with no other choice by their outright refusal to treat them on an equal footing with the company’s other workers. 
 
“Compared to their colleagues at RAF Valley, who receive shift pay for the same duties, Babcock’s RAF Leeming staff take home around £5,000 a year less. This is no way to treat a skilled and dedicated workforce and any resulting disruption to training flights will be entirely the fault of Babcock’s intransigence towards ending a clearly unfair pay disparity. 
 
“Unite’s door is always open. We urge Babcock to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible with an offer our members can accept, so that further industrial action can be avoided and operations return to normal.” 
 
ENDS 
 
Notes to editors:  
 
Babcock Aerospace staff at RAF Leeming will take discontinuous strike action over the following dates: 
 
20 January 2021 commencing at 07.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs on 20 January 2021 
20 January 2021 commencing at 15.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs on 20 January 2021 
26 January 2021 commencing at 07.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs on 26 January 2021 
26 January 2021 commencing at 15.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs on 26 January 2021 
02 February 2021 commencing at 07.00 hrs to 15.30 hrs on 02 February 2021 
03 February 2021 commencing at 15.00 hrs to 23.15 hrs on 03 February 2021
 
During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.
 
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
 
Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org
 
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion Web: unitetheunion.org
 
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.