Unite, Britain's biggest union, has branded the Liberal Democrat's review into Trident "a farce and a fudge" and says the plan would lead to the loss of tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs.
The review concludes that it would be credible for the UK to operate three replacement submarines instead of the current fleet of four Vanguard submarines, and still operate a continuous at sea deterrent (CASD). Previous alternatives suggested by Liberal Democrat politicians such as putting nuclear tipped cruise missiles on Astute hunter-killer submarines have been abandoned.
Reacting to the report, Unite national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding
Ian Waddell said: "The paper published by Danny Alexander today is a farce and a fudge.
"Serious questions need to be answered about what happens to the tens of thousands of highly skilled workers based at the main sites in Barrow, Faslane, Devonport and Rolls Royce Derby, plus the supply chain companies across every part of the UK, when the successor boats are finished.
"If we are to retain the sovereign capability to build submarines, the replacement for the Astute must be brought forward or these highly skilled jobs would be lost through a lack of workload.
"Whether we have a nuclear deterrent or not, the Navy will need submarines, and the UK needs the capability to build them here. Liberal Democrats need to explain how they plan to maintain the workforce and their critical skills, whilst cutting the industry's workload. Any argument that building three boats instead of four saves money ignores the fact that future submarine orders would have to be brought forward to fill the workload gap created, or we would have to give up the ability to build our own submarines and see skilled workers thrown out of work."
Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.