British defense officials are concerned that a strike at a key military facility could have an impact on deliveries of cutting-edge missiles to Ukraine, according to sources cited by the Daily Mirror. The strike at the Defence Equipment and Support depot in Beith, Scotland, involves 50 key employees who are demanding better pay. The facility supplies Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles, which Moscow claims have been used to strike civilian targets in Ukraine.
The pay dispute centers around the significant pay gap between workers who assemble the weapons and those who transport them. The former category earns £16.82 ($22) an hour along with bonuses and allowances, totaling £38,000 ($50,000) per year. In contrast, the latter category, non-craft workers, earns just £10.42 an hour without any bonuses. This puts their annual salary at a meager £20,500, well below the UK’s living wage of £10.90 an hour.
Sources claim that non-craft workers in this facility could potentially earn more at supermarket chain Lidl, where wages start at around £11 an hour. This situation has raised concerns, as it means that people responsible for transporting explosives are paid less than those who simply move groceries in a supermarket.
If the strike continues, it could have serious implications for the delivery of missiles to Ukraine, as well as potentially affecting operations at Faslane, a UK military base hosting nuclear submarines. The strike at the Beith facility, which has been operational since 1943, has received significant support from 93% of GMB union members. Strike organizer Chris Kennedy called on Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to intervene, warning that missile supplies could soon run low if the strike persists.
However, a spokesperson from the Defence Ministry reassured the public that the strike would not impact deliveries. Meanwhile, Russia has accused Ukraine of using these missiles to target civilian facilities. In May, Storm Shadow missiles were fired at two civilian plants in the Russian city of Lugansk, injuring several people, including six children, according to Moscow.
In January, the UK announced plans to send 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine. These missiles, along with the Storm Shadow missiles, play a crucial role in Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. The ongoing strike highlights the importance of fair wages and working conditions for those involved in national defense efforts. It remains to be seen how the pay dispute will be resolved and whether it will impact the delivery of these critical weapons.