• The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) keep our country safe by supporting and supplying the Royal Navy at sea
  • RFA workers are facing a real-terms pay cut with this year’s pay rise below inflation
  • Luke Pollard MP has launched a new campaign calling for a fair pay rise for RFA workers

Luke Pollard, the Labour and Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport today launched a new campaign to get RFA seafarers a fair pay rise that’s well above inflation. While not many people know about the RFA, they play important role in supporting the Royal Navy. The fleet is made up of uniformed civilian merchant sailors who provide logistical and operational support to the Navy. They often spend months at sea and without them the Royal Navy would not be able to operate.

Over the past decade the RFA have experienced funding cuts and freezes which has undermined their pay. On top of pension cuts and the erosion of redundancy rights, this year the RFA have been denied a fair pay rise and this does not recognise the important work they do. Earlier this month the Labour MP tabled an Early Day Motion on behalf of the RFA’s union – the RMT – to call attention to this unfair treatment and today in Parliament put pressure on Ministers to review the RFA’s pay settlement.

Luke Pollard said:

“The RFA play an important role in supporting the Royal Navy, leading on humanitarian, counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations. They spend months at sea away from their families and because these ships are forward deployed they are also in the firing line. This year they received a pay rise of just 1.5% which amounts to a real-terms pay cut.


Whether you’re a firefighter, a police officer, a nurse, social worker or in the defence family everyone deserves to be paid a decent wage. I know Britain values our armed forces and that is why I know people will back the campaign to pay our brave RFA personnel a decent pay rise after a decade of pay freezes and below inflation pay rises. The RFA keep our country safe and they deserve a fair pay settlement. That is what I asked Ministers to review today.”

Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT said:

“RFA seafarers work hard to support and supply the Royal Navy fleet around the world. No one can question their loyalty to the RFA but the constant undermining of their pay and conditions over the last decade is inevitably affecting morale.


The Government was right to lift the public sector pay cap for the armed forces, including the Royal Navy but wrong to continue austerity for Merchant Navy Ratings and Officers in the RFA who have had yet another below inflation settlement imposed on them.


The new Defence Secretary, a Portsmouth MP will know better than her predecessor the significance of the RFA’s work to the country’s strategic interests and we call on Penny Mordaunt to use her discussions with the Treasury to demand fair pay for RFA’s civilian seafarer.


If the government can find tens of millions of pounds to compensate Eurotunnel and ferry companies for botched Brexit contracts, surely they can find the much smaller amounts needed to pay RFA seafarers a fair rise.”


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