HC Deb 16 December 1981 vol 15 cc128-9W
Sir Frederick Burden

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the nature of the industrial dispute at Devonport dockyard that caused the refit on HMS "Swiftsure" scheduled for March 1979 not to be started until April 1980; and if it will be completed by the second half of 1982 as is now intended.

Mr. Blaker

The dispute which arose before HMS "Swiftsure" was taken in hand was over the terms of the agreement under which shift working was to be organised for the duration of the refit. A new pattern of shift working was essential for nuclear refitting tasks and the unions were reluctant to accept that negotiations, both on the shifts and on associated allowances, would be restricted by the limits of the shift working agreement in use at Rosyth, which was considered by management to be right for the job. HMS "Swiftsure's" refit remains scheduled for completion in the second half of 1982.