Trade unions representing workers in BAE Systems’ shipbuilding facility in Portsmouth naval base have reacted with dismay at the Minister for Portsmouth’s failure to ask the company to halt the redundancy programme currently under way.
When the dockyard trade unions and officials from the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions met the minister in April, Michael Fallon gave a clear commitment that he would speak to the company about halting the redundancies.
However, at a meeting with BAE Systems’ managing director, Mick Ord, in June, the unions were told that neither Michael Fallon nor any other members of the government had asked the company to halt the redundancy programme or to develop an alternative plan should Scotland vote for independence.
Dave Hulse, chair of the CSEU, wrote to Michael Fallon’s office expressing the unions’ bitter disappointment that the minister had failed to honour the assurance he had given in April.
Prospect negotiator John Ferrett said: “Our members will once again be dismayed that a politician purporting to represent their interests has failed to support them.
“They will also view Michael Fallon’s role as Minister for Portsmouth as mere window dressing, given his failure to follow through his commitment to ask BAE Systems to halt the redundancy programme.
“Workers already feel abandoned by the city’s two MPs, who have failed to fight to keep shipbuilding in Portsmouth. They will now, no doubt, feel abandoned by Michael Fallon.
“It is also incredible to learn from BAE Systems that the company has not been asked to make any contingency plans should Scotland vote yes to independence in September.
“This is astonishing given that a yes vote will leave the UK with no naval shipbuilding capability after Portsmouth is closed.”