Don’t delay – build new ships today! Unions respond to Parker Report
Having secured the future of the Upper Clyde until the 2030s through the delivery of the type-26 frigate programme, the GMB says the manufacture of three 40,000 tonne Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels through a work share programme across UK yards should now be confirmed as soon as possible.
The union is also calling on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to give assurances to shipbuilding communities that the RFA contracts will not be subject to an international tender, which could result in the possibility of Royal Navy ships being built by foreign competitors.
GMB Scotland Organiser and Scottish Chair of the CSEU Gary Cook said: “Michael Fallon can secure a generation of prosperity for shipbuilding communities like Rosyth, which supports over 3,800 jobs and generates over £105 million in wages for the Scottish economy.
“But the key to unlocking this massive economic and employment potential of shipbuilding in the UK is through the award of the RFA contracts to our yards through a new work share programme – that’s how you realise Parker’s vision.
“Parker has laid down the challenge and the trade unions have responded by showing the way forward and if we move at pace with the government and industry in tow then we can secure a massive prize for Scotland and the UK.
“GMB has already demonstrated the huge value of shipbuilding in Scotland and having secured the future of the Upper Clyde we can now win for our shipbuilding communities across the rest of Scotland and the UK.
“The ball is very much in the UK government’s court and it’s time for them to make good on their words.”
Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “This a positive, forward looking report that identifies shipbuilding as a motor for the renewal of UK manufacturing. The report has clear messages that government needs to take on board. We agree with Sir John Parker on the need for strategic planning, underpinned by assured financing, to avoid short-term budget raids by the Treasury.
“Delaying work costs more money in the long run and means that industry can’t plan for the future. This report presents a set of recommendations that break from this past, focusing instead on the delivery of the Type 26 and Type 31e as urgent tasks for UK shipbuilding.
Graham also pointed out that the Ministry of Defence needs to make sure that it has the personnel it needs to act as an intelligent customer and improve its decision making processes.
Government and indeed the MoD must invest in skills and technologies to enable industry to be competitive.
“The report makes repeated reference to the importance of positive engagement with trade unions. Prospect agrees that this would help support the development of a thriving shipbuilding industry which strengthens our defence capacity; enhance our export capability and provide thousands of high-quality skilled jobs which will be welcomed by local communities and contribute to the national economy.
“Sir John argues that we need a more diverse shipbuilding industry that uses the talents of shipbuilding across the UK. We strongly urge the government to implement the recommendations in full,” Graham concluded.
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