Seafarers at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over pay.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) working as civilian merchant seafarers onboard the fleet of RFA vessels which provide the Royal Navy with logistic and operational support, rejected a pay offer.

The union said the RFA has implemented a one-year deal of 4.5% which was “totally unacceptable” to its members.

Almost 500 RFA seafarers were balloted for strike action by the RMT union, which said it will now consider its next steps.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a fantastic result and I congratulate every single one of our members who took part.

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“They are extremely angry about the pitiful pay rise they were offered and frustrated at management’s refusal to even contemplate an improved offer.

“This is a clear message from RMT members, and it is about time that RFA management and those in control of the purse strings recognise the severity of the situation and respect the role and sacrifice of merchant seafarers and the crucial role that they play on long deployments away from home on operations around the world.

“We will now consider our next steps and try and come to a negotiated settlement with management along with our sister union Nautilus who represent officers who have also voted for industrial action over the past week.

“However, we cannot rule out industrial action now that we have a six-month mandate.”

Nine out of 10 of those who voted backed strikes on a turnout of 55%.