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‘Labour Cannot Play Fast And Loose’ With Defence And Energy Jobs

Thursday, September 28, 2017

GMB Warns Clive Lewis: ‘Labour Cannot Play Fast And Loose’ With Defence And Energy Jobs

GMB Scotland has today (Thursday 28 September) warned Labour MP Clive Lewis that the party ‘cannot play fast and loose’ with jobs our economy cannot do without, following the politician’s claims that trade unions in the defence and energy sectors are ‘a voice for big business’.

The trade union has now written to Mr Lewis, inviting him to visit trade union members in nuclear and shipbuilding communities like Dounreay and Rosyth to see first-hand the economic and social importance of their industries and work, while reminding that the scars of Thatcherism still run deep.

Last year, a report commissioned by GMB Scotland from the Fraser of Allander Institute, ‘The Defence Industry in Scotland’, showed that Royal Navy shipbuilding in Rosyth and the Upper Clyde alone supported over 9,800 jobs and generated over £268 million in wages for the stagnant Scottish economy.

Mr Lewis’s comments were delivered at Labour Party Conference in Brighton earlier this week at the Labour Energy Forum fringe event.

GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “It is regrettable that trade union members in our defence and energy sectors are hearing a Labour politician make baseless and erroneous claims about the industries they represent and the work that they do.

Our members are not a voice for big business, they are a collective and organised voice for decent jobs and pay, for better opportunities and life chances and for shared prosperity in working class communities.

Clive Lewis needs to get out of the political bubble and understand what Dounreay, one of Europe’s biggest nuclear decommissioning sites, means to Caithness. He needs to understand what shipbuilding means to communities in Fife and Glasgow.

If the Labour Party wants to build on its improving performance and return to government then it needs to support workers in these vital economic sectors - it simply cannot play fast and loose with these livelihoods.”


Contact: Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Copies of GMB Scotland’s Report, ‘The Defence Industry in Scotland’ can be accessed at
  2. Labour’s Clive Lewis accuses unions of being ‘voice for big business’, Guardian Tuesday 26 September:

Additional Resources

GMB Scotland Letter to Clive Lewis MP - 28 September 2017

download pdf159Kb (pdf) - 28 September 2017

Energy & Defence Sector Employment