The labor situation at Naval Station Rota regarding the LBAS contract and personnel has been a matter of some controversy in recent times.
In this page, we offer a number of documents of interest regarding the current situation. We encourage you to read them so that you may come to an informed opinion.
The US Navy, as part of the contract that LBAS is now managing, reduced the number of aircraft that had to be serviced at a given time (the so-called Maximum On Ground, or MOG) to 3, down from 4 in previous contracts. The contract also provided for the creation of a new position at the Station (at LBAS expense) and took several services out of its scope.
Understandably, the reduction of the provided services implied a significant budgetary reduction. It also meant that the workforce at the Station, as LBAS inherited it, was too large for the contract to be operated successfully. This is supported by an independent study made by the prestigious consulting firm Deloitte, which identified the personnel as being 45 people over the optimum amount.
LBAS made an offer to the Works Council in October 2016 which tried to keep as much of the jobs as possible with the least impact on the overall work conditions, while aligning the resulting workforce with the new situation arising from the changes demanded by the US Navy. The offer involved a reduction of the workforce in 15 positions, a temporary reduction in salary (up to a maximum of 16% for the most affected positions) and other adjustments to work conditions in line with the findings in the Deloitte report.
LBAS is fully aware that the need to restructure the workforce is not ideal, understands that it is difficult to accept for the workforce, and has always been open to negotiating a more amenable alternative with the workers’ representatives. However, any negotiation must necessarily take into account that the reduction in workload makes it infeasible to maintain every single job. As of today, over three years after starting on the contract, no reasonable alternative proposal from the Works Council has been forthcoming.
In the meantime, LBAS has had to take several difficult decisions involving workers. As is their right, some workers have challenged some of the decisions taken by LBAS in court. The courts, however, have repeatedly supported the LBAS position that the few terminations carried out are justified and due to the reduction of the provided services. As an example, we may mention Ruling 821/19 from the Andalusian High Court of Justice, which affirms the following:
“The contract awarded to LBAS, which came into force on August 1, 2016, entailed a cut of over 25% in services”
“LBAS did not voluntarily offer a reduced bid to ensure being awarded the contract; rather, the US Navy itself was the one considering that the initial bid was too high”
“There arises a need to restructure the organizational means of the firm to align them with the new production needs, entailing the writing off of the requester position, which we find justified”
More examples may be found in our archive. We encourage all interested parties to read the court argumentations and to form their own opinions regarding whether LBAS is justified in its choices or not.
Among other actions, the Works Council has called a series of strikes. The current one has been ongoing for over a year, with no end in sight. However, and thanks to the commitment and quality of our workforce at Rota, the US Navy has consistently commended LBAS on its performance in spite of the strikes. Even with the reduction in available personnel due to the strike, our workers have consistently shown that they are capable of carrying out the duties of the contract to our client’s complete satisfaction.
LBAS has not abandoned hope of reaching a fair and productive agreement with the Works Council and keeps its door open to negotiation. We humbly think that our overall contribution, not just to the client, but to our workers’ lives and to the overall vicinity of the Station is positive, and would be honored to continue supporting the Navy and our neighbors for the foreseeable future.