Royal Navy: Defence agency workers involved in MoD laser weapons project could strike over pay dispute

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Workers at a defence agency are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Prospect union at Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of action. Personnel in the DE&S have tested laser weaponry in the past, which is often developed and used on Royal Navy warships.

A revolutionary new laser weapon, Dragonfire, could be used on future Royal Navy ships to shoot down drones and other aircraft. Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) personnel are involved in testing weapons. Picture: MoD.A revolutionary new laser weapon, Dragonfire, could be used on future Royal Navy ships to shoot down drones and other aircraft. Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) personnel are involved in testing weapons. Picture: MoD.
A revolutionary new laser weapon, Dragonfire, could be used on future Royal Navy ships to shoot down drones and other aircraft. Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) personnel are involved in testing weapons. Picture: MoD. | MoD

They are also responsible for managing Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement across the British Army and the Royal Air Force. The union said the employer failed to meet its pay claim and imposed an “unagreed” offer for 2023-2024 of 3.25 per cent or less. Prospect is recommending that members vote yes to both strike action, and action short of strike.

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Prospect General Secretary, Mike Clancy, said: “Our members at DE&S are committed experts dedicated to keeping our country safe in an increasingly dangerous world. Yet instead of recognising their invaluable work, their employer is attempting to impose another significant cut in pay, with an offer below that negotiated elsewhere in the public sector, and far below their private sector counterparts.

“Industrial action is always a last resort. It is not too late for the employer to come back to the table and make a better offer.” The DE&S headquarters is located at the MoD’s Abbey Wood complex in Bristol.

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