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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 19:43 GMT 20:43 UK
Rosyth staff back strike action
Rosyth dockyards
Unions have expressed concerns about changes to pensions
Engineers, managers and technical staff at Rosyth dockyard have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a row over pension changes.

Shop stewards said 73% of the 550 members of the Prospect union voted in favour of strike action.

The first of a series of strikes is expected to be called for early August, followed by a work-to-rule and further strike action later in the month.

Other unions at the Firth of Forth yard have also been balloting members.

The site, which includes the former Rosyth royal dockyard, is operated by Babcock Engineering Services.

The ballot results were announced the day after Babcock received a contract for the assembly of two new MoD aircraft carriers at Rosyth.

Aircraft carriers

The dispute is over Babcock's introduction of a series of changes to the dockyard pension scheme, including a 4.5% increase in contributions and an increase in the retirement age to 65.

The Prospect union said 550 of its members voted by 73% to 27% in favour of strike action, and by 84% to 16% in favour of action short of a strike.

Union officials said if Babcock wanted to deliver on its share of the recently won aircraft carriers contract it would have to treat its workforce with more respect.

Alan Denney, the national secretary of Prospect, said: "Imposing changes to terms and conditions is not the way to conduct industrial relations in the 21st Century."

He added that it was not too late for the company to meet unions and avert the industrial action.

Management at Babcock were unavailable for comment.

Several hundred employees staged a walkout at the Rosyth industrial complex on 13 June in protest at the pension arrangements.

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