The closure of Portsmouth’s shipbuilding yard is a ‘betrayal to the workers and the nation,’ the GMB union has said.
It comes amid the huge political and industrial row which has erupted today over news shipbuilding is to stop in the city.
Gary Cook, the GMB regional organiser with responsibility for shipbuilding, said: ‘GMB will oppose each and every job loss in Portsmouth.
‘The contempt shown to the workers by BAE and the Tory coalition by leaking stories to the media before the affected employees were informed is nothing short of a stab in the back and a national disgrace.
‘Shipbuilding has taken place on the south coast for hundreds of years and the GMB is not prepared to sit idly by and watch design innovation and highly skilled workers thrown on the industrial scrap heap.
‘If the government wants their second aircraft carrier, a large proportion of which still sits in the build facility at Portsmouth, they’re going to need to talk to us about how we preserve jobs and protect the livelihoods of hundreds of people.’
All shipbuilding will stop in the second half of next year, the defence firm announced this morning, with some of the remaining work on the second of its Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, due to be carried out in Portsmouth, moving to Glasgow.
Workers were told this morning.
‘If closure of the shipbuilding facility is allowed to go ahead it will have a devastating effect, not only on the local economy but on many hundreds of hardworking employees and their families,’ added Gary Cook.
‘The company embarked upon a massive apprentice and graduate recruitment programme during the destroyer and carrier orders.
‘Young people entered into training because they were told that shipbuilding in Portsmouth had a long term future, now all of this would appear to have counted for nothing and the government are prepared to export shipbuilding jobs to Scotland in their pursuit of retaining the union on a devolution vote.
‘We in Portsmouth are the victims of the squalid, underhand political game.
‘GMB are calling for all politicians regardless of persuasion to do everything in their power, and more, to fight for the retention of a shipbuilding capacity in England.
‘This is nothing short of a betrayal to the workers and the nation.’