The campaigning tenacity of Unite shop stewards and members at GE’s under threat Rugby site won through today (Monday 20 May), after workers were told that the Ministry of Defence had signed off on an order for the second batch Type 26 Frigates motors to be built at the site.

The MoD’s order comes after months of intense campaigning and a recent House of Commons defence select committee hearing where Unite gave evidence. It secures the immediate future of Rugby site, which employs over 250 people making power conversion units. GE had previously announced the site’s closure with its work being moved to Nancy in France by the end of 2019.

Unite went on to urge the government to build on today’s announcement and help remove the threat of redundancies still hanging over the world leading site and secure its long-term future by committing to build the Royal Navy’s new fleet Solid Support ships in the UK with UK steel.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “If it had not been for the tenacity of Unite’s shop stewards and our members then we could have been looking at confirmation that GE’s Rugby site would close and its work shipped abroad. Instead this world class workforce, whose skills and expertise has built motors which power all the Royal Navy’s warships, can look forward to working on the second batch of Type 26 Frigates.

“Unite’s priority is now to reduce the number of potential redundancies at the site and secure its long-term future. We urge the government to build on today’s announcement and ensure vital skills and knowledge are not lost for a generation by working with us to ensure the site has a pipeline of work for years to come.

“With news that two of the international bidders for the Navy’s solid support ships have withdrawn, this must mean guaranteeing that these new ships are built in the UK, powered by motors from the UK and made with UK steel.

“Anything less would be a betrayal of the UK’s global status as a leader in shipbuilding and manufacturing and the communities these industries sustain.”


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.