In a ballot which closed in late November, 95% of those who voted rejected the pay offer.
Prospect and Unite’s pay claim was for RPI +1% until the end of the contract in 2022.
Serco said the claim was unaffordable and made a counter-offer with two options:
- Option one: A one-year, fixed November pay deal based on September’s RPI (2.4%)
- Option two: A multi-year November deal based on September’s RPI. The structure of the offer would be RPI + 0.1% for 2019; RPI + 0.1% for 2020; RPI +0.2% for 2021 and RPI +0.2% for 2022.
The unions said the offer did not meet members’ aspirations.
Prospect negotiator Bob King said: “We do not believe the offer represents a reasonable deal for members nor does it keep pace with the rise in average weekly earnings seen across the UK.
“We believe our claim of RPI +1% is reasonable and affordable and gives the employer stability ahead of the end of the contract and the rebidding process.
“The message from this rejection is clear and colleagues in Unite voted similarly. We will meet the employer again, restate our position and look to re-engage on negotiations to achieve our original aim of RPI +1% a year, to the end of the current contract.
“There are also various issues within the contract that are causing problems, such the harassment of trade union officials and significant concerns around staff training.
“Bearing in mind our members spend their time moving some of the Navy’s most valuable assets around, such as the new aircraft carriers as well as nuclear submarines, the decline is of significant concern,” said King.
Other concerns that the unions raised with Serco included:
- fears that the top-heavy management structure could have a detrimental effect on successful contract rebid
- succession and progression planning
- PDRs being brought in by stealth
- management’s declared wish to drive down pay bandings for certain grades
- reinstatement of the group income protection scheme
- payment of earned holiday pay.
“We’re hopeful the employer will see sense on pay as well as addressing the other areas of concern we have raised,” King concluded.
Serco provides maritime support services to the Royal Navy in the three major dockyard ports.
It took over towage services, fuelling, ammunitioning and other functions from the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS) in 1996.
The RMAS was disbanded in 2007 and Serco became responsible for the complete range of services under the Future Provision of Maritime Services contract (FPMS).
The FPMS contract is due to be renewed in 2022.