Johnson must nationalise Harland & Wolff to secure NI productive power

Unite logo white out of redUnions warn jobs and skills will be lost if iconic shipyard closes 

Opportunity for DUP to demonstrate influence with new PM

July 25th: Trade unions Unite and the GMB today called on the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make good on his Downing Street speech and invest in what Mr Johnson termed Northern Ireland’s “productive power”.

As concerns mount for the future of the iconic shipyard Harland & Wolff, Unite Regional Coordinating officer Susan Fitzgerald said:

“Yesterday Mr Johnson promised to ‘unleash the productive power’ throughout Britain, and to ‘level up’ with ‘higher wages, and a higher living wage, and higher productivity’.  In order to deliver on his promises, Mr Johnson must be prepared to invest in maintaining jobs.

“Mr Johnson needs to understand that ‘productive power’ is firmly rooted in the essential role played by working people in production and cannot be separated from that.

“Harland & Wolff – with the world’s sixth-largest dry dock – is facing insolvency next week.  If that happens, the skills of the workers, as well as the yard’s infrastructure, will be lost, diminishing the economy’s potential now and into the future.  Harland and Wolff is of vital economic and strategic importance – and the asset-stripping vultures are already circling. The Government needs to intervene immediately to nationalise the ship yard, securing it and the jobs that workers and their families depend on”, Ms Fitzgerald warned. 

Michael Mulholland is Regional Organiser for the GMB in Northern Ireland and added:

“Working people and the trade union movement need to know whether jobs are a red line when it comes to the DUP’s support for the Tory Government.

“Unions are requesting a meeting with both Boris Johnson and the new Northern Ireland Secretary, Julian Smith, as soon as possible to brief them on the situation at Harland and Wolff, and we challenge this new government to develop a ‘jobs and skills’ investment package. In the short-term, we are calling on the Government to nationalise Harland and Wolff and we are calling on the DUP and others to use all their influence to ensure this happens”, Mr Mulholland concluded.

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