Today’s (Friday 8 September) naming ceremony of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, Prince of Wales, is a landmark in the history of UK shipbuilding that risks being the last unless the government widens its national shipbuilding strategy, Britain’s largest union, Unite warned.
Praising the skills and professionalism of the UK’s shipbuilders, Unite urged government ministers to expand its national shipbuilding strategy by committing to build the next generation of naval support ships in an alliance of UK shipyards.
The union also called on ministers not to force yards to fight each other and foreign rivals for contracts to build blocks of ships as planned in the strategy, but to use the shipbuilding strategy to guarantee work for all the UK’s shipyards.
Commenting on today’s naming ceremony Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: “The naming ceremony of the Prince of Wales is a massive credit to the thousands of men and women in ship yards across the UK who have collaborated to make this day a reality.
“It is a landmark day in the history of UK shipbuilding and in no small part down to their skill, professionalism and team work. It cannot be the last of such days though.
“Once the Prince of Wales is fitted out workers need to know that there is more work in pipeline and that they have a future in the UK’s shipbuilding industry.
“The government must urgently press ahead with its shipbuilding strategy to safeguard skills, the future of the industry and the ability of the UK to build large complex ships.
“Ministers need to extend the shipbuilding strategy to ensure the next generation of Royal Navy support ships are built in an alliance of UK shipyards. They should also not force yards to fight each other for work, but guarantee work for all of them.
“A failure to do so would be a betrayal of some of the finest shipbuilders in the world.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
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.