Ahead of today’s Commons debate on the replacement of the UK’s defence submarines, Ian Waddell, Unite national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding, reaffirmed the union’s total commitment to its members’ jobs, and railed against the Conservative government for contriving a debate to score political points:
“Time and again we have made it clear that this union will, without reservation or hesitation, defend every last job of our members in the defence industry.
“To be abundantly clear, today’s vote is not about Trident – it’s about replacing our ageing Vanguard submarines with new Successor submarines and tens of thousands of jobs rely on the submarine programme.
“Our clear message to politicians is that this union will never support any public policy which sees our members and their communities thrown on the scrapheap. This position was reaffirmed by members from right across the economy and the country at our policy conference last week.
“Unite is right behind every member involved in our nation’s submarine industry, and this is the position we are presenting to MPs today.
“But we will refuse to engage in the Conservative party’s games-playing. Our members’ jobs and communities, and indeed the defence of the nation, deserve better than a contrived debate calling upon MPs to agree again something that was agreed some years ago.
“This confected debate may serve parliamentary point-scoring but it sends waves of uncertainty through the workplaces and neighbourhoods that depend on this industry for their livelihoods.
“Make no mistake, this new Conservative government has picked up where the last one left off - playing games with workers’ jobs.”
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.