Workforce representatives to raise campaign at UK-wide gathering of trade unionists as shipyard occupation enters its seventh week
Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, Susan Fitzgerald, confirmed that shop stewards at Harland and Wolff will travel direct from the shipyard occupation to the TUC annual conference in Brighton where they will meet with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party. The visit seeks to highlight the failure of the government to intervene and renationalise the shipyard as part of a wider investment strategy.
“Six weeks ago today, workers moved to occupy the Belfast shipyard to win a future for jobs and skills at the site. As yet they have still not received any assurances as to their jobs or the future of the shipyard. Their action in occupying the shipyard has put centre-stage the failure of the UK government to act, to renationalise the yard and bring forward a long-term plan for its future growth and development. It has also kept open the door to the transfer of the company as a going-concern to potential buyers.
“The skills among this workforce and the natural assets possessed by Belfast as a port, are world-class and are highly attuned to the needs of transitioning to a post-carbon economy. Intervention now could safeguard this shipyard as a base for future expansion – and provide needed, quality jobs for another generation of workers.
“It is that vision which has inspired the workers to take radical action and to stand resolutely. Representatives of the workforce will take that message to the TUC conference in Brighton with the aim of raising further their campaign and using that platform to publicly challenge the Conservative government of Boris Johnson on its total inaction in the face of this jobs threat.
“The workforce representatives will meet with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, to seek his party’s support for renationalisation and a programme of investment for jobs and skills at the shipyard.”