Unions 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.
Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald said:
“The hands-off approach adopted to date by the Tory government and their supporters in the DUP amounts to economic vandalism. During our conference call with the Secretary of State tomorrow, we will be stressing that, If Harland and Wolff is allowed to close, the taxpayer will pick up the bill in terms of lost taxes and benefit costs, while Northern Ireland’s economy will lose vital skills and expertise as we head into the uncertain waters of Brexit.
GMB Regional Organiser Michael Mulholland added:
“It is not too late for the government to, in the words of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at today’s mass meeting, step in and ‘nationalise to stabilise’, providing the space for development of a sustainable rescue plan. In order to ensure that a window for survival remains open, unions have been talking to the administrators and exploring ways of avoiding redundancy notices being issued to the workers”.