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Royal Fleet Auxiliary workers protest against ‘derisory’ pay deal

ROYAL FLEET AUXILIARY workers held a noisy demonstration outside Parliament yesterday against their livelihoods being “undermined” by a “derisory” pay deal.

The 700 RMT members, who supply vital goods to the Royal Navy, have been taking industrial action for over two weeks.

This includes refusing to return early from leave, working only contracted hours and only practising mandatory safety drills.

Catering crew are also refusing to make food for social functions for top brass, such as cocktail parties.

The dispute is down to a 1.5 per cent pay increase imposed on them by management.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is disgraceful that our RFA members have had a derisory pay increase imposed on them, which doesn’t even keep pace with the cost of living.

“It is wholly unacceptable and that is why we have been forced to move on to a programme of industrial action.”

Labour MP Dennis Skinner told the Star that he attended the rally after having heard about it from fellow Labour MP and RMT parliamentary chair Ian Mearns.

He said: “When I heard about it, I thought, it’s as bad as that?

“I’ve heard from people here that some RFA workers are on £1.75 an hour. That’s even less than Mike Ashley, and he’s a bastard.

“Even the Sports Direct workers on zero-hour contracts — even they get more than that.

“It’s very important the Labour Party identifies with struggles such as this.”

RMT RFA convener John Docherty told the Star: “Last year, we did 64 per cent of the navy’s job for them. They got a 3 per cent pay rise, we got 1.5 per cent.

“We’ve done our own work and we’ve done theirs, but the government don’t seem to think our contribution is worth it.

“I’ve served my country for over 30 years. I would like to see us get proper pay.

“We’re 24 per cent worse off today than we were in 2008.

“As I get closer to retirement, I thought I’d be better off, but we’ve had years of below-inflation pay rises — and, in some years, no pay rises.

“That’s since austerity, which is a way of cutting wages and keeping people on as little as possible.

“We have been undermined by 11 years by a government who think we don’t deserve it.”

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