The UK’s biggest union for shipbuilding and defence workers, Unite, called on the chancellor George Osborne to give ‘cast iron’ guarantees that the five new class vessels outlined in the defence review would be built on the Clyde with supply chain contracts awarded to UK producers.
The call for clarity in tomorrow’s comprehensive spending review (CSR) follows yesterday’s (Monday 23 November) announcement to cut the manufacture of 13 Type-26 frigates to eight at BAE Systems’ Govan and Scotstoun yards.
Unite is concerned that the UK's capacity to provide its own defence services is at risk with the threat to UK steel and shipbuilding jobs undermining the central objective of the Strategic Defence Review, which is to uphold national security.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: "The Type-26 frigate manufacturing cut is deeply disappointing. George Osborne needs to give cast iron assurances in the CSR that the five new class naval vessels outlined in the defence review will be built on the Clyde.
"We must protect our vital defence manufacturing skills and the UK's sovereign capability to build the complex warships the government aims to deploy. To fail to do this makes a mockery of the efforts to boost national security.
"The spending and defence reviews are a tremendous opportunity to put orders onto the books of our struggling foundation industries. Our steel industry is in crisis. Without government action now to save that industry it may not be around to compete for contracts when the orders are placed.
"Never again should we be placed in the position of using Swedish steel to build UK warships. There are too many grey areas in the government's procurement to support national defence - it needs to fill these gaps now."
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 or Peter Welsh on 0141 4045424 or 07810 157931.
Notes to editors:
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.