Professor John Barry of Queens University launches an open letter in support of Harland & Wolff workforce


Professor John Barry, QUB

Calls by unions for nationalisation of the shipyard are perfectly consistent with action on climate

John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at Queens University Belfast today launched an open letter urging academics, politicians and the wider public to back the Harland & Wolff workforce campaign to safeguard jobs and skills at Belfast shipyard. The open letter seeks support not just for the retention but expansion of the shipyard in light of its vital importance for a ‘just transition’ to a future sustainable economy.

Professor Barry spoke of the reasons he has brought forward this initiative.

“As a society we have passed a ‘tipping point’ on addressing the climate and ecological crisis; politicians and decision-makers globally are ‘playing catch up’ with recent mobilisations demanding greater and faster action on our climate crisis. The most recent climate science stresses the scale and urgency of reducing greenhouse emissions.  In order to meet the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to stay below two degrees warming, global emissions will have to peak less than a year from now and thereafter reduce by more than seven percent annually. If we want to meet the goal of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that is the lower and safer 1.5 degree warming target, we require ‘far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ with reductions of between 30-50 percent in global emissions by 2030 in energy, land use, transportation and agriculture. We desperately need leadership to meet this challenge. Continue reading

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Prospective buyers for Harland & Wolff to provide indicative bids for the business as a going-concern by midday tomorrow  

Unite logo white out of redAfter Scottish government announce they will nationalise Ferguson Marine shipyard, unions call on UK government to safeguard jobs and skills in Belfast

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer demanded the UK government move quickly to renationalise Belfast shipyard:

“The historic stand at Harland & Wolff shipyard has kept the door open for the business to be transferred as a going-concern safeguarding the jobs and skills of this workforce. Unfortunately the failure to date of the UK government to intervene and take the facility into public ownership has left the workforce are reliant on bids coming in from the private sector.

“We understand that prospective buyers have been asked to provide indicative bids by midday tomorrow. Serious bidders will base their offers on a genuine interest in taking the shipyard forward as a going concern with all the workers’ jobs and skills intact but they need to be aware that if the bids do not reflect a genuine interest, this workforce is going nowhere. Continue reading

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The hands that built our shipyard: Call for former H&W workers to come to yard tomorrow at noon

H&W iconic picAul’ hands on deck to Save Our Shipyard

When: Sunday August 11th at 12 noon

Where: Harland and Wolff shipyard, Dee Street, Belfast

Former and retired Harland and Wolff workers are invited to come to the shipyard at noon on Sunday August 11th when concrete prints will be made of the ‘hands that built the shipyard’.  The event is part of the ongoing occupation to save jobs and the yard.

Unite shop steward at the shipyard, Joe Passmore said:

“The gesture of concrete hand prints is a testament to the people who built this great industry. The yard means so much to this city and beyond, it needs to be re-nationalised. We need to take ownership. All hands on deck – let’s save our shipyard”.

Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald said that those campaigning to save the yard have been inspired by solidarity from retired workers:

“The massive campaign to save Harland and Wolff has struck a chord with people throughout Belfast and Northern Ireland, including many former and retired workers.  This project reminds us that Harland and Wolff was built by workers’ hands.  We don’t just need to save current jobs:  we also need to pass on skills to a new generation of workers’ hands”.

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H&W: Unions to hold conference call with Secretary of State tomorrow

Unite logo white out of redUnions determined to ensure that ‘window for survival’ remains open

August 5th: On the day that Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff entered administration, trade unions Unite and the GMB have said they are determined to ensure that a ‘window for survival’ remains open.  The unions will be holding a conference call with the Secretary of State, Julian Smith MP, tomorrow (Tuesday), during which they will highlight the potential damage to Northern Ireland’s economy if Harland and Wolff closes.  Unite and the GMB are currently in discussions with the administrators about ways of avoiding redundancy notices being issued.

At a mass meeting this afternoon attended by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, workers decided to continue their occupation of the yard pending a resolution of the crisis.

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H&W: Unite warns against selling iconic yard to ‘brand-stripper’

Unite logo white out of redRe-nationalisation would allow workers to get on with the job

August 4th: Unite, which represents workers at Harland and Wolff, today warned against allowing the yard to be bought by what the union termed a ‘brand-stripper’ who would jettison the jobs while using the iconic yard’s history as a marketing device. Speaking less than 24 hours before the shipyard is due to go into administration, Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald was commenting on speculation that the MJM group, which withdrew from negotiations two weeks ago plunging the yard into the current crisis, has now resurfaced as a potential bidder in a post-administration situation.  Pointing out that the head of MJM had previously raised the possibility of relocating his group’s manufacturing activities to Poland, Ms Fitzgerald said that Harland and Wolff needs an investor with a long-term commitment to Northern Ireland, and she reiterated the union’s call for re-nationalisation of the shipyard.  Ms Fitzgerald was speaking at the Family Fun Day organised by Harland and Wolff workers as a way of thanking all those who have supported them as their fight to save the iconic yard.

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