GMB, the shipbuilding union, says a Ministry of Defence decision to halt a vital Type 31e frigate order is a body blow to shipbuilding communities.
The MoD says it has been forced to rethink the acquisition strategy for its Type 31e general-purpose frigate programme after abruptly terminating the original acquisition process, citing insufficient compliant bids for an effective and robust competition.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer & CSEU Maritime Chair, said:
“This is a real body blow to many shipbuilding workers and their families the length and breadth of the UK.
Some are already seeing significant redundancies as the Carrier programme runs down, while others are in shipyards with a distinct lack of future orders meaning they will see nothing but a gloomy future ahead.
Depending on which consortium would have been successful, these ships potentially could have brought work in Scotland on the Clyde and at Rosyth, to yards in Devon and Cornwall, to Liverpool, Belfast and potentially other areas.
We have previously had the disappointment of the cancellation of the world class Frigate factory on the Clyde, the reduction from 13 Type 26 Frigates down to eight – then the promise of the other five being replaced with five Type 31e’s – only for this now to be paused due to insufficient bids and competition. Is our sovereign defence capability this Government’s priority, or treasury budget setting?
The renaissance in shipbuilding and the steady drumbeat of orders rhetoric from this Government are proving to be hollow words as far as our members are concerned.
Add to this the ill thought out government decision to put the three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships out to international tender, particularly given the shambles over Brexit, and it all adds up to a view within shipbuilding and steel communities that this Government cares little for their futures.”