UNION

Ministers to blame for Appledore closing, shipbuilder tells congress

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12 Jun 2019
Press Office

Press Office

The Government’s is to blame for the Appledore closure, a shipbuilder has told GMB congress.

The closure resulted in the loss of 200 Jobs on the river Torridge, hitting the communities of North Devon.

Jake McLean, GMB Rep at Appledore Shipyard received a standing ovation as he told GMB’s Annual Congress in Brighton the Government’s inertia and lack of an industrial strategy were the key reasons why the yard closed.

Jake McLean, former Appledore worker, told GMB Congress:

“Appledore is the latest in a line of yards that has been starved of the oxygen of work supply by a Government obsessed with the free market ethic and putting everything out to international tender.

“This propped-up Tory administration simply hides behind the bureaucracy of EU regulations to justify its’ policy of subjecting key build initiatives to overseas competition.

“When those very same potential bidders are able to build logistics ships free of any threat to a process, that leads only to a race to the bottom.

“Working at Appledore was much more than just doing a job. It was a cohesive community of interests, a way of life really for generation after generation, where skills and knowledge were handed down from father to son, and where you were sorted out as a person.

“Shipbuilding is in our blood in North Devon with every single ship leaving the dock being built with an immense sense of pride and passion.

Matt Roberts GMB organiser for Appledore Shipyard said:

“Today we have seen reports emerging suggesting that the Government has encouraged Italian firm Fincantieri to resubmit their bid to build FFS ships after halting in bidding the process which led to the closure of Appledore.

“It’s a scandal that they didn’t offer that encouragement to Babcock and the communities of North Devon last year, which would have saved 200 jobs and 400 years of history.”

“Over 40,000 jobs could be lost in the next two years from British shipyards unless the Government learns the lessons of Appledore and takes action.”

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