Tug boat crews' dispute could affect Navy ships

Tug boat crews are balloting for strike action Credit: LPhot Dan Rosenbaum/Royal Navy/PA Wire

The movement of Royal Navy vessels in and out of five UK ports could be severely disrupted, as tug boat crews ballot for strike action in a national pay dispute.

Portsmouth, the home base of the navy’s new £3.1bn aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, could be affected.

Unite, the country’s largest union which represents the 350 tug boat crew employed by Serco Marine Services, said four other ports could be affected.

Voting papers for strike action will start being delivered from Friday to the tug boat crews, who work for the company on the Ministry of Defence contract in the five ports.

The ballot for strike action follows an overwhelming rejection of the imposition of a 1.8 per cent pay rise for 2016/7 and 2.2 per cent for 2017/8.