UNION

Government's 'perverse' obsession with international shipbuilding tender

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07 Feb 2019
Press Office

Press Office

GMB, the shipbuilding union, says French defence policy challenges the Government’s perverse obsession with putting a £1billion Royal Navy contract out to international tender.

The union has long campaigned to keep the crucial £1 billion order for three new military support ships in the UK. 

GMB estimates £285 million would also be returned to the taxpayer through income tax, national insurance contributions and lower welfare payments. 

However the Government’s current policy is to put the deal out to international tender – even though they are not bound by normal EU rules on competitive tendering when it comes to military ships.

“They are killing the industry by starving it of the oxygen of work.

Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer and CSEU National Chair of Shipbuilding:

France has just announced its decision to build four similar logistics ships in France with no international tender. [2]

Meanwhile Julian Lewis, Conservative Chair of the Commons Defence Committee, wrote to the Government saying: “Our allies, such as both France and Italy, classify equivalent ships as warships.” [3]

Shipbuilding and ship repair employment in Great Britain has fallen from an estimated 122,200 in 1981 to under 32,000 in 2016 – threatening the UK’s sovereign defence manufacturing capability.

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

“Today we have once again seen the cost of this Government’s betrayal of UK shipbuilding with the proposed job cuts at Babock Rosyth.

“They are killing the industry by starving it of the oxygen of work.

GMB's Making It Campaign

“The Government’s obsession with putting the £1billion FSS contract out to international tender is made all the more perverse compared with France's intention to build four similar logistics ships in France with no international tender.

“Why can't UK do the same instead of a misguided race to the bottom price to overseas yards, with no thought on prosperity and return to the UK treasury in the form of tax and NI, plus workers’ spending in UK shipbuilding communities.

“Government Ministers have hidden behind EU regulations to avoid building these FSS ships in Britain.

“It smacks of double-standards and betrayal. What happened to the red white and blue Brexit they were promised?”

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