Reacting to the halting of the international competition for the Fleet Solid Support order, union GMB has called for the ships to built in UK yards.
Speaking at the union’s manufacturing conference in Belfast today, GMB General Secretary Tim Roache said that the Government should now go further and guarantee that all future orders for military vessels should be placed in the UK.
Competing for the work was a British consortium consisting of companies Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce (forming Team UK) and international bidders Fincantieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), Japan Marine United Corporation, and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (South Korea).
Fincantieri and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering had already withdrawn, according to the Financial Times. This left only Team UK, Navantia and Japan Marine United Corporation.
On Tuesday the Ministry of Defence published a critical report by Sir John Parker which said that the policy putting all shipbuilding orders apart from frigates, destroyers and carriers out to international tender is not ‘the right strategic approach’ and that ‘UK-only competition should be considered for future defence-funded vessels.’
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, speaking at the union’s manufacturing conference, said:
“This is an important victory but we are not celebrating yet. We will continue to keep up the pressure until these ships are being built in our yards, by GMB members, using British steel.
The Government must now fundamentally change its approach and announce that it will keep this order and all military shipbuilding orders in the UK.”
The shipbuilding unions have long campaigned for the practice of sending orders overseas to be ended, as have we.