The government’s Type 31e frigate announcement is testament to the skills and expertise of Rosyth’s ship workers, but is just one piece in the jigsaw needed to secure UK shipbuilding, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union representing ship workers said today (Thursday 12 September).

Responding to the UK government’s decision to award the contract to build Type 31e frigates to the Babcock consortium, Unite called on the government to ensure all shipyards in the consortium are able to benefit.

The union said that must include bringing Harland and Wolff under public control, as the Scottish government has done with Ferguson Marine, so Northern Ireland’s shipbuilding community can reap the benefits of the contract.

Unite is also demanding guarantees that the Royal Navy’s new fleet solid support vessels will be built in UK shipyards with UK steel.

Harland and Wolff, which is currently in administration, is part of the Babcock consortium to build the Type 31e frigate which would provide at least six year’s work for the shipyard. Workers are currently occupying the historic shipyard as they battle to secure its future.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “Unite welcomes this announcement which will see workers at Rosyth play a leading role in building the Type 31e frigate. It is recognition of their skills and expertise which ensures Scotland’s world beating shipbuilding tradition is sustained for years to come.

“It is however just one piece in the jigsaw needed to secure the future of UK shipbuilding and the thousands of jobs that it sustains in communities across the country. It was always going to be the case that these Royal Navy warships would be built here in UK yards.

“The government must ensure these ships are built using UK steel and that UK firms in the manufacturing supply chain reap the economic benefits.

“This must also include the UK government stepping in, as the Scottish government has done with Ferguson Marine, with the nationalisation of Harland and Wolff so the proud shipbuilding heritage of Belfast is secured for years to come.

“Crucially the government must now take the necessary steps to ensure that the Royal Navy’s new fleet solid ships are block built in UK shipyards using UK steel.

“A failure by prime minister Johnson to guarantee that the Navy’s solid support ships are UK built would be a national betrayal of ship workers and UK manufacturing. It would deprive shipbuilding and manufacturing communities across the UK of highly skilled well paid, unionised jobs and hand the economic and political benefits from building the vessels overseas.”

ENDS

For more information journalists only please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 alex.flynn@unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors:

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