Airfield staff vote to strike

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HELICOPTERS currently in service in Afghanistan could be affected if workers at Wattisham Airfield strike over a pay dispute, writes Neil Bracegirdle.

Around 100 members of Unite – the country’s largest trade union – who are employed by Morson Wynnwith have voted in favour of strike action after discovering that they receive around £3,000 a year less than engineers working at the firm’s site in Hampshire.

Talks between Unite shop stewards and the firm were taking place earlier this week in a bid to resolve the dispute and prevent engineers who carry out essential maintenance on the base’s fleet of attack helicopters downing tools.

Mark Robinson, regional officer for Unite, said: “We hope to resolve this dispute, as the last thing we want is anything to affect the maintenance of the Apache helicopters that are so vital to the safety of those servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan.

“However, our members are angry and frustrated at the company’s intransigence to align the salaries at the two sites. We believe that work of equal value should receive equal pay and the majority of our members at Wattisham are worse off to the tune of about £3,000 a year.”

For the full story see last week’s Free Press.