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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Rolls-Royce ballot backs strike
Jerry Hicks
Jerry Hicks was dismissed on two counts of misconduct
Workers at an aerospace engine test plant at the Rolls-Royce site near Bristol have voted to strike over the sacking of an Amicus union official.

Nearly two-thirds of the 88 workers who voted backed strike action after the dismissal of a convenor.

Jerry Hicks was sacked in July over two allegations of misconduct.

The union plans to strike on 22 August but will meet with Rolls-Royce on Monday for more talks. The company said it was "disappointed" by the result.

We will look at the situation and will not rush into anything
Tony Pearce, Amicus

It follows a disciplinary hearing by Rolls-Royce that concluded Jerry Hicks was guilty of two counts of gross misconduct.

An employment tribunal has since found that Mr Hicks had "probably been dismissed on trade union grounds". His case will go before a full hearing in the next six months.

The decision means that Mr Hicks' contract of employment will be preserved.

It also means he will be on full pay, and will receive back-dated pay, before the full hearing.

Fifty-five of the plant's test facility workers have voted for industrial action, with 33 against. Six workers abstained.

'Bad for business'

Tony Pearce, the Amicus regional officer said: "It very clearly shows that people are prepared to support it.

"But we will look at the situation and will not rush into anything. There is a further meeting with the company in London and hopefully we will try to resolve it."

Mr Hicks, who worked at the plant for 30 years, said: "People don't have to go on strike. Rolls-Royce can take me back tomorrow and I'll be the same person.

"But what it means for Rolls is it's bad for business, it's bad for them, it's bad for everything really. But I'm delighted with the vote."

Around 1,000 workers from the rest of the plant could also be balloted for industrial action.

A statement by the Rolls-Royce plant in Bristol said: "We are clearly disappointed in the result of the ballot of a number of our employees from the test site. We have not been informed of any plans for industrial action."

The Bristol factory produces and services engines for military aircraft, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Hawk and the Harrier.

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