Portsmouth fights for another 500 years of shipbuilding

Portsmouth fights for another 500 years of shipbuilding

13 December 2013

This Saturday (14 December) workers, their families and local communities are marching to demand that the government acts to save shipbuilding in Portsmouth.

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), comprising Unite, GMB, Ucatt and Prospect will hold a march and rally in Portsmouth tomorrow to fight for a future.

In November BAE Systems took the decision to end 500 years of shipbuilding history in Portsmouth with almost 1,000 planned jobs cuts. The unions are fighting to retain as many of the jobs as possible.

The unions believe that as the ultimate owner of the Portsmouth dockyards, the government still has a role to play. By working with BAE Systems and the unions, the Ministry of Defence could find ways to generate opportunities to save valuable shipbuilding jobs and skills.

Speakers at the rally will include: Vernon Jackson, leader of Portsmouth city council; Hugh Scullion, CSEU general secretary; Dave Hulse, GMB national officer and CSEU Chair; Ian Waddell, national officer Unite; and John Ferrett, Prospect.

Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: “Portsmouth has a proud 500 year history of shipbuilding. It is a waste and a tragedy that the government is allowing this legacy to end. BAE Systems workers, their families and the local community are calling on the government to think again and secure shipbuilding in Portsmouth for another 500 years.

“As the ultimate owner of the Portsmouth dockyards, we believe, the government can generate opportunities to save these valuable shipbuilding jobs and skills.

Gary Cook, GMB regional officer said:  "Not only is the coalition government prepared to throw more than 1,000 highly skilled shipbuilders on the scrap heap, many of whom will be destined for a life on benefits, but they are also playing fast and loose with the national security of these British Isles by having no plan B for warship building.

“Regardless of party politics surely any right minded individual would not put all their eggs in one basket and would see the real value of retaining a capability at Portsmouth."

The march and rally takes place tomorrow (Saturday 14 December 2013).People will assemble at 11.00 at  Victory Gate, Queen Street, Portsmouth then move off at 12.00 to arrive at Guildhall Square for the rally at 12.30.


Contacts Unite: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 or Ian Waddell on 07768 931 269 or GMB: Steve Pryle on 07921 289 880 or Gary Cook on 07712 677594

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.