White collar workers at BAE Systems are to ballot for industrial action in a long-running pay dispute.
The 3,125 professional staff at the Warton and Samlesbury sites held an informal vote to decide whether to accept the three per cent offer from the aircraft maker’s management.
The dispute has been ongoing since January 2013, with the staff unhappy that the offer was below the Retail Price Index rate of inflation.
Unite union convenor John Cameron said the results from the informal vote had now come in.
He said: “We had a consultative ballot in the workplace, which was informal and they decided to reject the offer.
“We are now having to go down the formal ballot procedure which will take some time as it has to be watertight legally.
“We have served notice on the management.
“The ballot will close on April 7 and the results should be in shortly after that.
“It’s now March 2014 and the original pay offer came in January 2013 to it has been going on a long time.
“People are not happy that the offer of three per cent, irrespective of whether the management think it is reasonable or not, was below the Retail Price Index rate of inflation for the whole of that time.”
He added that many of the staff had experienced tremendous upheaval during the time with many jobs moving locations due to the restructuring that BAE Systems underwent.
Manual workers at the Warton and Samlesbury sites which employs around 6,000, voted to accept the three per cent offer in April last year.
A BAE Systems spokesman said: “‘BAE Systems recognises the contribution of our employees and we are proud that our excellent terms and conditions of employment reflect this.
“Our rates of pay and other benefits compare very favourably with the national marketplace.
“We believe that our offer of a three per cent general pay increase is fair and meaningful and compares favourably with the national average.
“We are saddened that despite extensive negotiations with the Warton/Samlesbury professional staff’s trade union we has failed to reach an agreement on the 2013 pay deal.
“We will continue working to secure the right outcome for our employees and to ensure that we deliver the performance necessary to underpin the long-term, sustainable success of our business.”