The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) has a long and proud history of supporting the Royal Navy through war and peace as well as combatting drug trafficking and piracy and providing humanitarian aid in response to natural or man-made disasters around the world, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.
Of note in recent years were the roles of RFA Argus in fighting and containing ebola during the outbreak, and RFA Mounts Bay in delivering emergency aid to islands hit by hurricane Irma, among many other examples of important work.
Because RFA personnel are classed as Ministry of Defence civilian employees and subject to civil servant pay guidance, they have been subject to years of falling real wages.
Trade unions have been at the forefront of calling for the cap to be lifted for those who service and operate RFA vessels, stressing the RFA’s strategic significance to the country’s economy and security.
At the last election, I stood on a manifesto that included a fully-costed pledge to lift the public sector pay cap.
I will continue to press the Government to give public sector workers the pay rise they deserve.
I understand that the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) began the balloting process for industrial action at the beginning of April.
I will follow any developments and bear in mind the points you raise in your letter.
I hope the Government will carefully consider the arguments made by trade unions as part of the Fair Pay for RFA campaign.
I strongly believe the Government should scrap the cap on civil service pay and I will continue to call for RFA personnel, and all those subject to civil servant pay guidance, to be given a fair pay increase.
Sir Kevin Barron is the MP for Rother Valley.