The official signing of a Ratification Agreement marked the conclusion of year-long discussions and review meetings based upon the spirit of partnership between the company and the union.

Under the new agreement Lex Transfleet employees are now to benefit from an increase in basic hourly pay and overtime rates, and a reduced working week of 37 rather than 39 hours.

Barry Camfield, assistant general secretary of the TGWU, attended the signing at Lex Transfleet's offices at Gale Barracks, within the Aldershot Army Garrison, last month.

At the signing Dave Roberts, Lex Transfleet's director of MoD managed services, said: "The successful outcome of these negotiations has been achieved through the trade unions and Lex Transfleet working in partnership.

"We have obtained a satisfactory outcome which benefits the workforce and provides harmonious industrial relationships."

Lex Transfleet and the MoD also benefit from the agreement thanks to enhanced staff motivation, more efficient use of time and improved customer service.

Lex Transfleet provides a fully-managed transport service to the MoD, based at Aldershot Garrison.

The contract was initially awarded to Lex Transfleet in late 1996 under the MoD's Competing for Quality programme, and has gone from strength to strength since.

At the outset, the contract required the transfer of 147 personnel from the MoD to Lex Transfleet and the operational takeover of four depots and two workshops.

The transport element began on July 1, 1997, and is worth more than £30million to Lex.

At the time it was the largest contract placed by the British Army under Competing for Quality.

The seven-year contract includes the provision of administrative transport support to the Garrison and also a further 15 garrisons and stations located in six counties — a geographical area covering approximately 4,000 square miles.