Nautilus International has launched its ballot of members at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) on industrial action.
The ballot, which iopened on 6 December 2023, comes after members at the RFA rejected a 4.5% pay offer that falls far below the rate of inflation.
Members working for the RFA – responsible for logistical and operational support to the Royal Navy – have consistently seen their pay fall below other blue light services such as the armed forces and the police, fire and ambulance services.
Since 2010, RFA employees have faced a real-terms pay cut of more than 30%. This has led to significant challenges in recruitment and retention, and low morale across the workforce.
Nautilus, alongside the RMT union, began arbitration with the RFA via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to resolve the dispute. Unfortunately, as a suitable resolution has yet to be found and no improved offer made, Nautilus is left with no option but to ballot for industrial action.
Nautilus head of recruitment and membership Derek Byrne said: ‘Over a decade of pay restraint leading to significant real terms pay cuts has led to systemic barriers for the RFA to retain and recruit maritime professionals. This has, in turn, led to widespread poor morale across the workforce. Nautilus members have clearly indicated their frustration at the latest offer of 4.5%, concluding it does nothing to repair the damage done since 2010.
‘The RFA is vital to our nation’s national security. Two RFA vessels have been recently deployed to the Mediterranean to provide humanitarian support in the ongoing conflict in the region. RFA vessels are positioned across the world to support the Royal Navy and provide humanitarian assistance where needed.
‘Industrial action at the RFA will cause significant disruption and severely limit the UK’s naval capacity. To avoid disruption, the UK government should commit to a pay increase reflective of the real terms pay cut since 2010 and the current high levels of inflation.’