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Devonport: Tug boat crews stand up to Serco bullies

The Workers Party of Britain denounces Serco’s attack on the living standards of Devonport’s tug crews and welcomes Unite’s decision to ballot its members for strike action.

The outsourcing giant wants to abolish the existing week-on, week-off roster pattern, replacing it with a roster of three weeks on, three weeks off. As well as risking dangerous levels of fatigue amongst workers (who often work with military vessels and nuclear subs), the new contract would also claw back 16 leave days. 

Whilst Serco management hunkered down and worked from home, the tug crews worked on regardless through the pandemic. For their pains, they are now under attack from the bosses. 

But 45 of the 91 crew are holding out in the face of this management bullying and are now being balloted by Unite for strike action. The ballot closes on 2 December. If strikes go ahead, they could paralyse the movement of Royal Navy traffic in and out of Devonport naval base and harbour. 

Serco signed a 15-year PFI contract in 2007 with the Ministry of Defence for a cool £1 billion. The work that ensures that a hefty chunk of that billion ends up in shareholders’ pockets is done by its marine crews.

We wish the tug boat crews every success in their struggle to defend pay and conditions in the face of their profiteering bosses’ attack.