ANGRY civilian staff considering the first ever industrial action at Scotland’s nuclear naval base have broken their silence to hit out at bosses over pay.

There’s never been a strike or similar action at Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport on Loch Long, where the UK’s nuclear warheads are stored.

Eight miles from Trident sub base Faslane, the site dates back to the 1960s and civilian staff there are subject to stringent confidentiality contracts due to national security concerns.

But staff employed through the ABL Alliance – which includes Lockheed Martin, Babcock Marine and AWE Plc – have today spoken out as they threaten industrial action that Unite union claims could “cripple” the UK’s nuclear deterrent system.

Unite Scotland this week confirmed that around 70 of its members who provide specialist services for the multi-billion-pound submarines have voted to support industrial action if bosses won’t meet their call for a cost-of-living pay increase, with 90.5% saying they’d strike.

READ MORE: Behind the ‘secret’ rise in nuclear weapons on the Clyde by UK Government

One worker, speaking anonymously, said: “I have never thought at Coulport that we would ever be put in a position where we’d have to vote for industrial action.

“We have always carried out our jobs doing long, unsocial hours at times. I know the management know how loyal we are and would have expected them to support us in our pay claim as we are forever being told we are their greatest assets.”

The row is playing out as viewers across the UK prepare for the final episode of hit submarine thriller Vigil, set on board a nuclear sub off the coast of Scotland. The highly-rated drama is amongst the most popular series currently showing and has reignited debate around the defence system, which is worth big money to the companies involved.

While AWE’s team is involved in the maintenance of the weapon system operation, Babcock Marine staff provide jetty services and Lockheed Martin employees carry out specialist engineering. According to Companies House, those companies made profits of £17.7 million, £7.3m and £41m after tax respectively in the year to the end of December 2020.

READ MORE: Faslane and Coulport fire and rescue workers begin overtime strike

Unite members are seeking a pay boost that meets the 3.8% RPI inflation rate of July and says ABL’s offers are “unacceptable”.

One worker said staff had been “very patient” and “co-operative” but “there is general feeling of being fed-up and feeling under-appreciated for the important work we carry out”.

They went on: “The public need to know that the job we carry out is incredibly important to the defence and security of our country and we believe as workers that the wage increase we are asking for is absolutely justified and totally reasonable as we are only asking to match the cost of living.”

Another said there’s now an atmosphere of “disappointment”, with staff feeling “undervalued and bordering on anger”, adding: “This isn’t a dispute about workers being greedy and claiming for a pot of gold that would have them driving about in fancy cars and flashing cash like Mr Big Shot, this is about wanting a fair increase to keep their families supported.

“An alliance of three companies who are making a multi-million pound profit from the public should be paying a fair wage back.”

Stevie Deans of Unite said “even an overtime ban could cripple the effective running of operations at RNAD Coulport” if action goes ahead next month. He stated: “If the employers refuse to move quickly, then industrial action will strike at the heart of the nation’s nuclear deterrent in a matter of weeks.”

Four Vanguard-class submarines are operated from Faslane, near Coulport, by the Royal Navy. As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, they had been due for decommissioning next year, but this has been postponed until 2028.

The MOD, which appointed the ABL Alliance contract, says the safe management of its operations “will not be compromised” and it is “hopeful that a resolution will be reached”.

The Sunday National contacted all ABL Alliance members for comment.