A report claims that delays in the construction of the Type 26 Frigate have had a negative impact on the development of the workforce on the Clyde.

The recently released report ‘Restoring the Fleet: Naval Procurement and the National Shipbuilding Strategy’, states that:

“It is clear to us that the delays in the construction of the Type 26 have had a negative impact on the development of the workforce on the Clyde.

Apprenticeships are not being offered at the necessary rate, and those currently undertaking apprenticeships are having their skills training disrupted. Furthermore, workers are being required to move from Scotland to Barrow in order for them to undertake meaningful work.

We welcome the efforts made by the trades unions and BAE to retain the workforce during this period of uncertainty, but remain deeply concerned by warnings that further delay could be “catastrophic” for the skills base.”

BAE said:

“The workforce at the yards on the upper Clyde have not been reduced.”

The report also states:

“The decision to build the OPVs in advance of the Type 26 also has an impact on the workforce. Duncan McPhee, Manual Convenor (Scotstoun), Unite, told us that while he welcomed the work the additional orders would bring, it should not be seen as a replacement for the delays in the Type 26 programme.

Mr McPhee also highlighted the fact that the absence of work on the Type 26 was undermining the ability to provide apprenticeships. Following the start of the construction phase of the Carrier programme, BAE was recruiting 100 apprentices a year.”

The report adds:

“This was important to the industry as it both brought in new entrants and lowered the age profile of the workforce. Furthermore, that throughput of apprentices played a key role in sustaining the appropriate level of skills for the longer-term. By contrast, only 20 apprentices would be recruited in 2016 and Mr McPhee asserted that this was ‘solely because of the decision to move the Type 26 to a later date’.

We are going to recruit 20 this year, and there are steelworkers who started last August who we have now had to switch to other trades. Fortunately, we are keeping them within the business, but in all my time in shipbuilding, I have never known apprentices to start with one trade and then, six months later, have to switch to another one. They were brought in because we thought we would be working on the steelwork for the Type 26. That is the impact on training and young people.”

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, we will be building a lighter frigate and we will end up with a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment.”

Responding to earlier speculation that the work could go elsewhere, Fallon dismissed this by saying:

“BAE will be in pole position [for that contract]. They’re the principal warship builder.”

The first of the five new vessels, HMS Forth, is expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2017. The Offshore Patrol Vessels have been ordered to fill a gap in orders after the second carrier and before the Type 26 frigates begin construction.

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Dave B Philips

To be fair, whilst there may be an increase to what was promised on the Clyde, i think ultimately the Royal Navy has been massively shafted by the Government…Again. The Royal Navy yet again will have to settle for lower operational capability with fewer capable hulls and extra ‘pirate/smuggler hunters’… The carrier group will sap much of our capable surface fleet thus minimising the flexibility yet again of our already tiny fleet.


The Armed Forces in general – but the RN in particular – have been shafted for years by successive governments and this one is no different. Frankly, the British tax payer is also shafted as we get a terrible ROI on the defence budget. I blame to a large extent BAE as they are truly the only ship builder we have left – and they know it. Therefore they charge whatever they like (eg 348M for three OPVs that are essentially useless and the RN never asked for or wanted!). I understand the need to maintain jobs and a skills… Read more »

Rob Collinson

The state of the Agentine military is far worse than ours. The are in a totally shambolic state. No way they could even consider an armed assault.


Rob – I was speaking hypothetically; cast your mind back a few short years and Argentina was working to build a ‘coalition’ of South American countries against us regarding the Falklands to the point where RN ships were denied docking permission in some South American countries. A future conflict with any such coalition is not out of the realm of possibility. Remember we are ‘supposed’ to plan for the worst; should the unlikely happen, it wouldn’t go well! If the Argentines et al were smart, they’d just wait until 2018 when we have no operational carriers and NO anti ship… Read more »


I think you have sort of forgotten the massive investment in defence capabilities in the Falklands post ’82. Maybe UK Defence Journal has an article somewhere? We actually do not need a carrier force to liberate the Falklands as you assume because the Argies will never get within 100 miles of those islands. Assuming they have any ships or aircraft left.


Building hulls cheaply in South Korea hasn’t gone terribly well so far with the RFA’s, not to mention the fact there shipbuilders are in financial dire straights. What we need is a truly sustainable shipbuilding industry, both Naval and Commercial. I’d rather pay a bit more and have that level of strategic security rather than relying on anyone else for our most important national assets.


Is it just me or do I smell SNP activity here (again) and is anyone else getting fed up to the eye teeth with constant Scottish moaning and criticism and doomladen forecasts? There are other places in the UK just as capable and just as keen for work and would bite the MoDs arm off for a sniff. And BAE will do as their paymasters and future prosperity tell them. And if the Jocks are really miffed they should ponder what they would be experiencing had they been independent since March this year. HMS QE would have been towed away… Read more »

Dave B Philips

I don’t believe for minute that we are building the ships on the Clyde to appease the SNP. It really is probably the best place in the UK to build them. True, that while the SNP and indeed all nationalists are extremely difficult to do business with, i believe the Scottish people are beginning to see past the bluster and negative rhetoric of the SNP. They are hardly doing a great job of managing the Scottish economy with the powers they have and it would be wise to focus on issues internally within the Scottish economy rather than simplistically pointing… Read more »


Well I agree the SNP are making a hash of Scotland (and the English are picking up a £15 Bn tab for it!) but it appears Ms Krankie is hell bent on fracturing North South relationships. Apparently her Lord Advocate now has the right to ‘intervene’ in the Supreme court and believes the Scottish Parliament has the right to veto the Brexit vote. Now one hopes their Lord and Ladyships will see sense and uphold the Appeal but if they don’t and the Scots are allowed to block Brexit they may well be getting their Independence quicker than they wish… Read more »


Define ‘massive’ investment?? Four typhoons, a few obsolete rapier batteries and a battalion or so hardly qualifies. I agree that Argentina is in a worse state than in ’82 but that is not what I said. They were actively trying to build a South American coalition against us a few years back that combined would present a serious challenge to the current depleted RN. Maybe UK Defence Journal has an article somewhere?


Sorry Dave – my comments above were meant for Chish.


Without listing the assets available here I think you will find there are considerably more and very lethal assets than you suggest looking after the Falkland Islanders. This makes interesting reading and viewing:


Well, Sir John Parker delivered the strategy to the government a week ago, apparently they are now ‘considering’/burying it – some speculation in the FT


I would not get any uk ships built on the Clyde they want to stay in the EU and most of the scots want a Hard border between scotland Nicola Sturgeon has previously confirmed she is looking at the options of the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area. Opposition parties have warned against any proposals which could end free trade within the UK. Commenting on the poll findings, Robert Struthers from BMG Research, said: “An astonishing proportion of Scots would be comfortable with a hard border between Scotland and the rest of the UK if it meant the… Read more »


Like the LCS/Frigate? Scotland cannot afford independence, the U.K. is indefensible without a secure Scottish coastline. The SNP are fools and charlatans.

It’s not a sprint …


Let’s be clear, it has not had a negative effect on the Clyde! They are building irrelevant OPV’s to replace OPV’s that don’t need replacing, let’s be completely honest the original Rivers were pointless to begin with. These new OPV’s are astonishingly expensive, a stop gap and drain on limited available resources. We need a total rethink on how we deliver future Warships, we could start with defined fundamental requirements, build hulls capable of rapid change and set short build timeframes. Taking 20 bloody years to deliver a potential design is beyond piss take! Let alone the massive flaws in… Read more »


I think that just about covers it Mike…. ‘Thumbs Up’

We should take a Yank design they have proven and licence build it here. Even building tankers in Korea has gone arse up….


Which Yank design?


The Freedom Class. What the Yanks call an ‘LCS’ and we call a Frigate @ 3,900 Te. It could do everything a Type 26 can do with the same kit and is very similar to what we know about the Type 31. It can reach 45 Knots powered by 2 RR MT30 turbines and 4 RR water jet systems, BAE even supply the automatic gunnery system and other warfare kit and it carries a ‘Seahawk’ which is like a larger Wildcat. 3 years from keel laying to commissioning and been in operation for 8 years and now works. the Yanks… Read more »