North Ayrshire's MP Patricia Gibson joined striking defence workers on the picket line in Beith yesterday.

The SNP MP gave her support to GMB workers at Defence Equipment and Support (DES) Beith on Monday, September 18, offering them her full support.

Non-craft workers at the plant have taken industrial action following a row over bonuses.

Mrs Gibson addressed the striking workers, calling for a speedy resolution to the dispute, after she urged new Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps MP to intervene, raised the matter on the floor of the House of Commons and tabled a Westminster Early Day Motion.

DES is an arm's-length section of the Ministry of Defence, which has been providing missiles for Ukraine in their struggle against Russian forces.

Ms Gibson said: “This strike action is unprecedented, backed by 93 per cent of GMB members and not undertaken lightly.

“However, as workers in DE&S fight for improved pay and conditions I stand beside them in solidarity. 

“It’s unjust that non-craft workers who prepare arms for shipment at the depot, face discrimination in the payment of bonuses, relative to craft workers who assemble munitions.

"Retention payments are made to managers and craft workers, whilst non-craft colleagues earning less than £21,000 a year have been excluded from these bonuses."

She added: “The UK supports the people of Ukraine as they fight to protect their country’s territorial integrity and freedom in the face of Russian aggression. MoD Beith is vital in ensuring the uninterrupted supply of equipment to UK armed forces and the Ukrainian frontline.

“The workers at Beith quite rightly reject the two tier payments currently operating within DE&S and I support their action for a fairer and more equal working environment where the work of all at DE&S is respected and recognised with a bonus scheme which is fair to all workers at the site.

"The Defence Secretary must urgently intervene to ensure a fair resolution to this dispute.

“I will continue to pursue this matter at Westminster to help secure a positive outcome as soon as possible.”