UNION members at a government munitions depot in Beith are set to go on strike in a row over bonus payments.

The GMB union says that 93 per cent of its members at the Defence Equipment and Support depot in the town have voted for strike action over a dispute on retention bonuses.

Managers and craft workers are in receipt of bonuses whilst non-craft workers do not.

The union says that there is culture within the depot which has created a two-tier system, where non-craft workers are treated as second class.

DES is an arm’s length body of the Ministry of Defence which delivers equipment and support services to the UK armed forces.

GMB Scotland organiser Chris Kennedy said: “Our members at the Beith depot work day in and day out to ensure munitions and equipment are readily available to our armed forces to defend UK security.

"Without our members, the depots would not function. They deserve to be recognised for that work and to be treated fairly and equally.

“We have called for the UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace MP, to intervene and deliver parity for our members. Without his intervention, our members at Beith will take unprecedented strike action on his watch – the first in the history of DES.

“A two-tier system is totally unjustifiable – especially when all staff work hard to support our armed forces and all staff are facing the deepening cost-of-living crisis.

"Our members deserve equal treatment for the vital work they do.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We have been advised by the GMB that they have achieved a mandate for Industrial Action and Action short of a Strike.

"We remain open to dialogue with GMB to discuss the issues raised and work towards resolving.

“In the event of industrial action, pre-planned contingency measures would be implemented to ensure the continued operation of the site.”