Union says its time to commit to new Type 31 frigates and support vessels as HMS Queen Elizabeth goes to sea and still no sign of National Shipbuilding Strategy
GMB, the union for shipbuilders, says now is the time for the Government to commit to new Royal Navy Type 31 frigates and RFA support vessels and the HMS Queen Elizabeth sets sail.
Earlier this year Sir John Parker urged UK ministers to start work on a new warship, the Type 31, arguing construction should be built and shared among UK yards in an alliance similar to the work on the aircraft carrier.
The UK Government had been due to give its official response on the Parker Report but it was delayed until shortly after the General Election. That time has now passed.
However GMB say the time is right for ‘a clear commitment on jobs in the shipbuilding sector’.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer for Manufacturing and acting CSEU chair, said:
“Once again shipbuilding workers in the UK have demonstrated what a world class workforce they are. Now that the general election is out of the way, it’s time to reassure shipbuilding workers across all UK shipyards.
The Government must announce its decision, in line with the Parker Report, on the construction of the Type 31 Frigates. At the same time we again call for the Government to commit to building new Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships in UK shipyards to secure much needed jobs.”
However in November 2015, after confirming that the Type 26 Frigate would be built on the Clyde, Michael Fallon also indicated that the Type 31 Frigate will be assembled there too.
Michael Fallon told BBC Radio Scotland:
“Nobody is shortchanging the Clyde. This is a huge moment for the Clyde; we’re confirming we’re going ahead with the steel cut next summer, earlier than expected. The first eight will be the Type 26 combat ships.
After that, the Clyde will be building a lighter frigate and we will end up with a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment.”
It’s understood that the build plan for the Type 31 Frigate will follow a similar pattern to that of the Queen Elizabeth carriers and early Type 45 Destroyers in that blocks will be built in yards around the UK and assembled on the Clyde.
A MoD spokesperson responded with what is seemingly a place-holder type response:
“The Government is committed to building ships on the Clyde and to the Type 26 programme. Over the next decade, we will spend around £8 billion on Royal Navy warships.
As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, we will build two new Offshore Patrol Vessels on the Clyde, maintaining Scottish shipbuilding capability ahead of the start of the Type 26 build. We will also consult with Industry and Trade Unions as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which will set the UK shipbuilding industry on a sustainable footing for the future.”
There is still no sign of Type 31 or the National Shipbuilding Strategy.