GMB Scotland at STUC: Ferguson’s workers deserve no blame for delayed ferries
The workers at the Ferguson Marine shipyard must no longer be used as a political football by careerist ministers and incompetent managers, GMB Scotland told the STUC.
Delegate Alex Logan, GMB convenor at the publicly-owned yard where delays to the construction of two ferries has been dogged by claims of political failure and executive error, said the yard’s skilled shipbuilders deserve no blame.
He told Congress, meeting in Caird Hall, Dundee, the workers at the yard have become scapegoats for the ministers and managers responsible for the blighted construction of Hulls 801 and 802.
Logan, who has worked at the yard for more than 40 years, said the Scottish Government must direct more contracts to Ferguson’s and other yards as part of a new shipbuilding strategy, adding: “Despite the point scoring of politicians and the failures of management, I’m proud to call myself a Ferguson shipbuilder.
“We will not accept our name being dragged through the mud or a workforce being used as a political football for political gain.
“Politicians have used Ferguson’s to further their own careers while jeopardising the jobs of those at Ferguson’s.”
Logan, who has worked at Fergusons for more than four decades, said the experience, talent and skill of the workforce has been unfairly tarnished because of delays due to management changing blueprints mid-build.
“These were not problems of our making. Yet, we are the ones caught in the political crossfire.”
He said, instead of trying to blame the workforce, ministers should recognise its talent and commitment and directly award the yard contracts for more ferries capable of securing lifeline routes to the islands.
Logan was speaking in support of a motion voicing alarm at the Scottish Government’s failure to protect ferry services and, in a passionate defence of the workforce at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, he called for an industrial strategy to replace CalMac’s ageing fleet with ferries built in Scotland, using Scottish supply chains and protect and create jobs at shipyards like Ferguson’s.
He said politicians loved to talk about the shipbuilding heritage of the Clyde but warned the industry must be part of Scotland’s present and future industrial strategy.
He added: “As an island nation, a strong, domestic shipbuilding industry is an obvious need. With the ageing fleet that serves Scotland’s islands, the need is urgent. Unfortunately, those island communities are being failed.
He said the award of a BAE Systems contracts is testament to the yard’s capabilities and said the Scottish Government should show the same faith in its work, saying: “There can, and must, be a future for Ferguson’s. That requires the political will that was shown when the Scottish Government intervened to save the yard.
“That same will must be shown now by delivering a direct award of planned builds to Ferguson’s and other shipyards in Scotland for the new island fleets.”
The STUC passed a motion calling on the Scottish Government build an industrial strategy that will support both island communities and Scotland’s shipyards.
Click on the image below to watch Alex Logan, GMB Scotland Activist speaking at STUC Congress 2023 or follow this link: https://bit.ly/3UNkX22