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Victory to the Devonport strikers!

The Workers Party of Britain denounces outsourcing giant Serco for endangering the health and welfare of tug crews at Devonport naval base, and salutes the decision of workers to take further strike action over management’s high-handed actions.

The tug crews are responsible for pulling warships and subs in and out of harbour, a task which requires a high degree of alertness and concentration. Traditionally the crews are rostered on a week on, week off basis, an arrangement which has proved reliable over many years. But in 2020 Serco took the arbitrary decision to impose a roster pattern of three weeks on, three weeks off, ignoring the crews’ plea that this adversely affects their health and safety, increasing the dangers of mistakes being made through excessive levels of tiredness. The new rosters also have the effect of worsening annual leave entitlement.

The workers voted overwhelmingly to go on strike over Christmas last year, but in the event Unite suspended the action and got bogged down in time-wasting talks with Acas. When this came to nothing some forty tug workers struck for 24 hours on 9 April and plan to do the same on 26 April.

Serco, whose coffers are overflowing thanks to the killing it made on the disastrous test-and-trace contract it secured in 2020, should stop fooling around with tug crews’ rosters for some penny-pinching management gimmick.

Full support to the striking Devonport tug crews!