UNION members at a munitions depot in North Ayrshire have announced two days of strikes in a row over bonus payments - starting this week.

GMB Scotland’s members at the Defence Equipment & Support (DES) depot in Beith will walk out for two days in a dispute over payments to 'non-craft' workers at the facility.

The workers, who play a critical role in transporting, storing and dispatching munitions across the Beith site, have voted to take coordinated strike action on Friday, July 14, and Monday, July 17.

Non-craft workers at the depot voted for strike action over a dispute on retention bonuses.

Managers and craft workers are in receipt of bonuses whilst non-craft workers have been excluded.

The GMB union says the impact of this industrial action goes beyond the immediate disruption to DES operations.

It says that as non-craft members are responsible for the supply of munitions, strike action could potentially affect the timely delivery of essential supplies on those dates.

The union says it wrote to UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace MP, in June to call for his intervention, but have received no reply.

Last month, GMB Scotland representatives met with DES management to seek parity between non-craft members and their craft worker counterparts.

Despite these negotiations, the union says, no satisfactory resolution was reached, leading to the decision to proceed with industrial action.

GMB Scotland organiser Chris Kennedy said: “Our members deserve equal recognition and fair compensation for their invaluable contributions to DES and our armed forces. Without them, equipment would not reach those who need it.

“We deeply regret that it has come to this point where our hardworking non-craft members have been compelled to take industrial action. Our members do vital work and are in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Management have failed to respect and recognise the invaluable work our members do. This can only be achieved with a bonus scheme that is fair to all and therefore must include non-craft workers.

“The Defence Secretary cannot wash his hands of the matter. His intervention is essential to deliver parity, fairness and equality and bring an end the dispute.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson earlier told the Herald: “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 will be implemented to ensure the continued operation of the site.”