Demonstrators step up battle to save BAE Systems’ Portsmouth shipyard from closure

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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HUNDREDS of workers and union officials marched through Portsmouth today in a continued effort to stop the closure of BAE Systems’ shipyard in the city.

The defiant group walked around Portsmouth Naval Base with banners, drums and whistles chanting ‘they say cut back, we say fight back.’

Demo: Protesters march through Portsmouth

Demo: Protesters march through Portsmouth

As reported, BAE Systems announced on Wednesday, November 6, that shipbuilding duties will be transferred from Portsmouth to the Clyde, in Scotland, putting 940 jobs at risk.

The protest was organised by Portsmouth Trades Union Council in conjunction with unions GMB and Unite the Union. Members of Prospect union were also present.

Cars sounded their horns and passers-by gave everyone a thumbs up as they went by.

It comes after scores of protestors called for the government to overturn the decision on the steps of Portsmouth Guildhall before the filming on Question Time on Thursday.

John Ferrett, a negotiator for Prospect union, said: ‘This has been a matter of continuing what we have done up to now.

‘I attended a meeting in the week and the mood amongst workers was very grim.

‘People are facing the prospect of major redundancies in the near future.

‘However, there is a determination amongst the workers and unions to try and keep as many of these shipbuilding jobs in the naval base as possible.’

Paul Jeram, 58, is a mechanical fitter at the yard and his son Dan and son-in-law Paul Hayes works there too.

They turned out in support along with Mr Hayes’ two sons Stanley, three, and Freddy, six.

Mr Jeram, of Buckland, Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s very important we keep shipbuilding in the UK.’

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