GMB welcomes developments on future of Appledore Shipyard

27 Sep 2019
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With the right business plan, North Devon shipyard can have a sustainable future, says union 

GMB, the union for shipbuilders, have confirmed and welcomed reports that have now been made public by the government that Appledore shipyard, mothballed for six months, is likely to be close to reopening.

It follows a Number 10 summit today with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Attorney General and local MP Geoffrey Cox on the future of the yard.

Reps from the yard have been working tirelessly for the past 18 months to save and reopen our historic yard.

Jake Mclean, Appledore shipbuilder

The North Devon yard shut its doors in March, with the union blaming lack of appropriate business plans and inaction by Conservatives for this closure.

Earlier this month, shipyard workers learned the 'bittersweet' news that former owners Babcock selected as the preferred bidder to provide the Government with five Type 31 frigates.

The North Devon yard had built almost 200 vessels and was a lynchpin South West economy and British shipbuilding.

GMB has campaigned to save the yard since it was announced last year, handing in a 10,000 strong petition to Parliament, and suggesting several plans to keep the shipyard viable.

Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer and CSEU National Chair, said:

“This historic shipyard has been mothballed for six months due to a lack of the right business plans and inaction by the Conservatives, with a proud workforce deprived of their livelihoods.

“We have been closely involved with the South West Business Council’s Appledore Taskforce, and whilst we are concerned the government may be slightly premature by making the announcement today, we are of course pleased with the progress that has been made.

 “GMB and sister CSEU trade unions have worked tirelessly with South West Business Council to get this iconic shipyard reopened and this world-class workforce back in secure and stable employment.

“By making the political choice to go public with this news today (which other parties had decided not to do just yet until we had more certainly) it’s now incumbent on government to make sure this does get over the line. We await further developments and will continue to work hard to get the gates back open at the shipyard.”

Jake Mclean, Appledore shipbuilder, said:

“On behalf of the workforce, we are happy to hear this news today.

“Reps from the yard have been working tirelessly for the past 18 months to save and reopen our historic yard.

“This announcement will be met with excitement by the whole community.

 “Appledore shipbuilders – myself included – can now look forward to the future again."

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