SCOTTISH staff at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) missile depot have voted to escalate strike action in a pay dispute.

GMB Scotland members at the munitions complex in Beith, North Ayrshire, which supplies missiles to Ukraine, will walk out for two weeks from August 21.

The union warned the strike at the complex, which is run by Defence, Equipment & Support, will disrupt shipments.

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has been urged to intervene and head off the strike action.

However, the MoD insisted the walkout will have “no effect on our ability to provide capability to Ukraine”, despite calls from a Ukrainian MP to find an end to the dispute.

The forthcoming action comes after four days of targeted strikes in recent weeks failed to secure a resolution.

The union claims a “two-tier culture” has developed at the depot.

The National: Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko has urged MoD bosses to negotiate an end to the row Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko has urged MoD bosses to negotiate an end to the row (Image: PA)

The staff say the pay gap between craft workers who assemble the munitions and non-craft colleagues, who support their work and prepare equipment for transport, has tripled to £18,000.

According to the union, extra payments and bonuses have been made to managers and craft workers in recent years but not to non-craft colleagues earning less than £21,000 a year.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland secretary, said: “A two-tier culture has been allowed to embed itself in this workplace and risks good working relationships now and in the future.

“Our members are doing important and responsible jobs and simply want that work to be fairly recognised. Instead, they have seen the gap between their salaries and that of their colleagues stretch wider and wider.

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“Everyone brings different skills to their work and that should be recognised, but the role of our members is fundamental to the effective operation of this important site.

“They are only asking for fairness and the support they have received, from Scotland to Ukraine, shows why they deserve it.”

A number of MPs have written to Defence Secretary Wallace urging him to intervene and secure a resolution to the dispute.

Meanwhile, Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, has urged managers to quickly negotiate an end to the row.

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“The work being done by GMB Scotland members at Beith could not be more important to Ukraine as we fight for our freedom," Vasylenko said. 

A spokesperson for the MoD said: “These strikes will have no effect on our ability to provide capability to Ukraine.

“Pre-planned contingency measures are being implemented at Defence Munitions (DM) Beith to ensure the continued safe and compliant operation of the site.

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