A UNION has warned that work on warship manufacturing at BAE Systems could grind to halt next week due to strike action.

The GMB union said that unless conciliation talks with subcontractor firm Wincanton deliver an improved pay offer for 50 store operatives then a 24-hour strike will go ahead on Wednesday, October 19, which would severely disrupt work on frigates.

Union representatives will attend the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on Monday in the hopes of ending a two-tier pay structure that exists among store operatives who distribute trades and safety equipment to workers at the Govan and Scotstoun yards.

A pay gap of over £4 an hour exists, with the majority of subcontractors currently paid £9.90 an hour while a dozen staff previously transferred from BAE Systems are paid over £14 an hour.

GMB is calling on Wincanton to equalise the hourly rate and the value of this year’s pay offer for all staff.

READ MORE: Liz Truss branded 'evil' for voting against ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia

More than 95% of members previously voted to support strikes against the pay policy in a full statutory industrial action ballot.

GMB Scotland organiser Dominic Pritchard warned: “A stores strike will mean shipbuilders won’t have the tools and PPE to do their jobs, so manufacturing on the warships that Britain needs will stall unless Wincanton and BAE value our members fairly and better for the work they do.

“The frigate programme is worth billions and vital to our future security, but it is an affront to UK shipbuilding that we have workers receiving less than £10 an hour while supporting large-scale defence projects.

“Compounding the problem is the fact that Wincanton and BAE Systems have knowingly allowed this pay gap to fester between store operatives doing the same job when both firms could easily afford to lift-up wages for everyone.

“These workers are struggling to stay above the breadline in the grip of this cost-of-living crisis, so if the employers want to avoid a strike next week, they must table fresh proposals that will tackle the in-work poverty and pay inequality facing our members.”

However, a spokesperson for BAE Systems said that there will be no disruption even if the strike goes ahead. 

They said: "This is a matter for Wincanton and its workforce. We have made temporary arrangements to ensure that there is no impact to our activities should the strike action take place next week."

BAE Systems is the UK’s largest defence contractor and employs around 3500 workers on its Govan shipyard.