The Ministry of Defence (MoD) must urgently get around the table to resolve strike action at the defence munitions plant in Beith, Scottish Labour MSP Katy Clark has said.

Around 50 staff, who handle and load missiles at the site run by the MoD’s equipment agency DES, have already been involved in several one-day actions and will now walk out for a further two weeks from Monday, August 21.

The GMB union, which represents the workers, has said those working in “non-craft” roles, are now earning up to £18,000 less each year than skilled employees after DES imposed a new unequal bonus scheme.

Ms Clark, who represents Beith constituents as part of the wider West Scotland region, has written to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to demand the MoD urgently negotiate, citing the “vital work they do in supporting Ukrainian resistance to Russia's invasion”.

She said: “I want to express my full solidarity to the munitions workers at Beith taking strike action.

"I attended the picket line last week and I am disappointed by the lack of progress on the part of DES.

“Given the immense importance of the work they are doing, seeking to ensure equipment reaches allies under siege in Ukraine, it is concerning that management has fomented such unnecessary ill will and division among the workforce by creating huge pay disparities.

“Workers have my full support. DES need to get around the table and start negotiations so this dispute can be urgently resolved.”

But the Ministry of Defence have insisted: “The strikes will have no effect on our ability to provide capability to Ukraine.

“Pre-planned contingency measures are being implemented at DM Beith to ensure the continued operation of the site."

A spokesperson added: "We remain open to dialogue with GMB to discuss the issues raised and work towards resolving them.”