Unite, the UK’s leading union, has described a decision by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to grant much of the work to build a new Mersey ferry to an overseas shipyard as a complete betrayal of the local Cammell Laird workforce. Unite has learnt that despite the UK leaving the European Union, government rules forced the work to be tendered across Europe.

Work going overseas

The work to build a brand new ferry has been awarded to the Daman shipyard in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the Cammell Laird shipyard, which is on the Mersey, will only undertake the refurbishment of one of the existing ferries and complete some final work on the new ship.

The work has been awarded to Daman despite the Cammell Laird shipyard being able to fully undertake it.

Defies belief

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a complete betrayal of a local and highly skilled workforce, it defies belief that a new Mersey ferry won’t be built on the river the ship will serve.

 “This is a wholesale failure of the government’s procurement policy, which continues to undermine strategic British industries and threatens jobs and skills.”

Successful shipyard

Cammell Laird currently employs 693 workers and there has been a significant commitment in recent years to train apprentices and increase skills at the shipyard. If Cammell Laird had been awarded the contract to build the new ferry it would have secured 120 jobs at the yard for a 12-18 month period.

Frustrated workers

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “Workers at Cammell Laird are today angry and frustrated. Once again they are being forced to pick up the scraps. They clearly understand the value of employing people to recycle the investment in the community where the ferry will operate and taxpayers money has come from as opposed to sending up to £15 million abroad.

"The workers want the government to explain how they can let this happen at a time when we’re told every penny is a prisoner”


 For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.