Birkenhead MP pledges support for RFA strike

Seafarers at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) will take strike action on 19 May in a row over pay.

Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead, pledged his support for the strike. He said that his “only regret is that health issues mean he cannot be physically present at the picket in Birkenhead on Sunday morning”.

Mick told Birkenhead News, “The pathetic pay offer the Royal Fleet Auxiliary management have imposed on their workers is a disgrace.

“I fully support the strike called by their union, the RMT. Health issues mean I can’t join them in person in  Birkenhead on 19 May but I send my solidarity to workers who are refusing to accept being treated as second class seafarers by their bosses.”

RFA has implemented a one-year deal of 4.5% which RMT members say is unacceptable. RMT members work as civilian merchant seafarers onboard the fleet of RFA vessels which provide the Royal Navy with vital logistic and operational support including humanitarian operations around the world.

Up to 500 RFA seafarers are prepared to take action unless a negotiated settlement can be reached.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “Management have been intransigent throughout and have failed to make any improved offer that is close to satisfying our members expectations.

“RFA need to recognise the severity of the situation and respect the role and sacrifice of merchant seafarers and the crucial role that they play on long deployments away from home on operations around the world.

“We have tried to come to a negotiated settlement with management but now we have no choice but to take strike action.”

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