GMB Calls For Urgent Clarification From UK Government Over Future Of Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers
GMB has today (Friday 6 January) called for clarity over the future status of the Royal Navy aircraft carriers following speculation that the MOD is considering mothballing one of the two vessels to help plug a £500 million budget shortfall.
GMB is writing to the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP warning of the economic and employment impact on communities like Rosyth, if the proposals reported in this morning’s Times prove accurate.
As part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, Rosyth and other yards across the rest of the UK are currently manufacturing the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Class carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, with commitments to maintain the vessels throughout their lifetime.
A recent report commissioned by GMB Scotland into the defence industry in Scotland estimated that Roysth supports over 3,800 jobs and generates over £105 million in wages for the Scottish economy.
GMB Scotland Organiser and Scottish Chair of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), Gary Cook said: “The mere suggestion that one of the aircraft carriers could be mothballed by the MOD will set alarm bells ringing among our members and particularly in Rosyth.
A large chunk of the future prosperity of these yards are invested in the maintenance and routine refitting work associated with Royal Navy vessels and potentially cutting this work by 50 per cent would have serious consequences for jobs.
GMB is also campaigning to bring the manufacture of three Royal Fleet Auxiliary support vessels to yards across the UK and any impact on the future of QE class carriers would also call into question the future outlook for these orders too.
Less than two months since the Parker Report spelled out the massive economic and employment opportunities for shipbuilding in the UK, it’s deeply worrying that the MOD is flirting with proposals that could harm our shipbuilding communities.
Such short-sightedness would be bad news for Rosyth, bad news for Scotland and bad news for the future of UK shipbuilding and we are calling on the UK Government to provide urgent clarification on these reports.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Gary Cook on 07712 677594 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.
Notes to Editors:
1.Times, Friday 6 January 2017, ‘Navy battling to save £500 million after bungled deal for ships’ <http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/navy-battling-to-save-500m-after-bungled-deal-for-ships-8wwwjxcxt>
2.GMB Scotland Report, ‘The Defence Industry in Scotland’