Cammell Laird workers prepare for strike action

Shipbuilders in Birkenhead are preparing to ballot for strike action after seven workers were suspended according to a major union.

According to Unite the Union, the suspensions at Cammell Laird are linked to more than 450 members of their union and GMB Union not crossing a picket line when RMT members staged industrial action last month. Unite said it “organised talks with the company providing our members were not targeted”.

The union now claims five members including their convener have been immediately suspended pending a full disciplinary investigation. It is understood workers furious about this move held an emergency meeting last week and agreed to be balloted for potential strike action between 8 July and 5 August.

GMB Union confirmed it is currently balloting for strike action as its members got suspended.

Unite said between 300 and 400 employees at the shipyard were members. Cammell Laird, a key employer in Birkenhead, currently supports 650 employees, 1,500 subcontractors, and 171 apprentices and was founded in 1828.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is outrageous behaviour from Cammell Laird. There had been constructive dialogue to make sure we avoided this exact situation.

“This pathetic attempt to bully and victimise our members won’t work and will end in failure. Our members are rightly furious and will have the full support of Unite as they are balloted.”

Ross Quinn, Unite regional officer, added, “Cammell Laird are shooting itself in the foot with this attitude. Instead of sitting down to productive meetings like grown-ups they’ve chucked their toys out of the pram with these suspensions.

“Our members won’t stand for it and will make their anger known on their ballot papers this month. I urge Cammell Laird to immediately reinstate our members and cancel any disciplinary hearings before it’s too late.”

A spokesperson for Cammell Laird shipyard declined to comment. GMB Union were also approached for comment.

Image credit: Unite the Union

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