Gavin Newlands, the Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has added his voice to calls for the UK Government to commit to not cut or delay the orders for eight type-26 frigates as doing so would be a “total betrayal” of the 800 shipyard workers on the Clyde who would potentially face redundancy.
Contracts for thirteen type-26 frigates were placed during the independence referendum of 2014; however, after the referendum it was scaled back to eight orders. On Friday 22nd April 2016, representatives of the trade unions from Scotstoun and Govan shipyards were told by BAE Systems that a worse-case scenario for further scale backs would be 800 workers being made redundant.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, the Renfrewshire MP pressed the UK Government’s Minister for Defence Procurement, Philip Dunne MP, asking:
“There is a growing sense of anger and frustration on the Clyde. Many of these hard-working and highly-skilled workers are starting to feel as if they were used as a constitutional pawn. What does the Minister say in response to the Secretary of GMB Scotland who said that the UK Government’s actions on the Clyde are a total betrayal of the upper Clyde workforce?”
Speaking after the debate, Gavin Newlands said:
“Scotland’s shipbuilding industry has a proud past and the shipyard workers on the Clyde were promised by the UK Government that their industry had a promising future.
“During the independence referendum in 2014, those campaigning for a No vote alleged that ‘Separation Shuts Shipyards’ and the UK Government pledged to build thirteen type-26 frigates on the Clyde.
“However, despite remaining as part of the UK, we have gone from the promise of a world-class frigate factory to the prospect of 800 hard-working and highly-skilled shipyard workers being made redundant.
“The contract to build eight type-26 frigates, which has been already scaled back from thirteen, must not be cut or delayed any further by the UK Government. Any cut or delay would be a total betrayal to all of the shipyard workers on the Clyde – the workers and their families deserve to have the promises made to them fulfilled and job security guaranteed.”