Many news organisations have reported that there could be up to 800 redundancies from Clyde shipyards, this doesnt seem to be accurate.
According to reports, union representatives were told by BAE Systems that a “worst-case scenario” of 800 redundancies was possible if the UK government pulled back from its commitment to the manufacture of eight Type-26 frigates on the Clyde. This type of tactic is common in the negotiation of contracts, especially on this kind of scale.
A MoD spokesperson said:
“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.
Ahead of the announcement, the SNP and others had said that any reduction in the number of Type 26 frigates being built on the Clyde would be a “betrayal” of the workforce, with some MP’s even going so far as to claim “promises were broken”. A significant amount of MP’s from the Conservative party also posted strange and now deleted tweets regarding the number of frigates to be ordered.
The original plan for the class had been 8 anti-submarine warfare variants and five general purpose variants, this remains largely unchanged except for the specification of the later five vessels, which has been reduced to make them more affordable.
Then Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons:
“There will be eight of the Type 26s and at least another five of the new type of frigate, probably more, and they can be built in Scotland if the conditions are right. The only way these ships wouldn’t be built in Scotland is if Scotland was independent and didn’t have the national resources of the Royal Navy.”
Mr Cameron also told the Commons that the new class of frigates, now referred to as the Type 31, would be “more affordable than the Type 26 which will ” allow us to buy more of them for the Royal Navy so that by the 2030s we can further increase the total number of Royal Navy frigates and destroyers.”
The Type 26 frigate represents the future backbone of the Royal Navy and a massive leap forward in terms of flexibility of surface vessels enjoyed by the service. It and the new Type 31 will replace the 13 Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and export orders are being sought after by BAE. The programme has been underway since 1998, initially under the name “Future Surface Combatant”. The programme was brought forward in the 2008 budget at the expense of Type 45 destroyers 7 and 8.
The Type 26 and Type 31 frigates, regardless of variant, will be adaptable and flexible frigates with a wide array of cutting edge sensors and weapons designed to help them effectively and efficiently meet evolving mission requirements. What’s more, they will all be built in Glasgow.