Select Committee on Work and Pensions Minutes of Evidence

Letter to the Committee from GMB (SHP 5)


Dear Ms Nelson

  The current and future employment prospects on Clydeside are in our view directly linked to three main areas.

    1.  The Type 45 Programme.

    2.  Movement of work and transfer of labour within BAE SYSTEMS Marine.

    3.  Re-training for the future.

The Type 45 Programme to come onstream in July 2002 is extremely important to the stability of employment on Clydeside. Any possible threat of slippage on the order would bring further redundancies to the present workforce.

The preparatory work needed to be carried out for the Type 45 in relation to Redesign, Steelwork Planning, and Technical Backup should be used as avenues in retaining the present employee levels.

We can ill afford to lose any more of the skill factor whether it be managerial or manual from any of the Yards at Govan and Scotstoun. Our past experience of peeks and troughs within the Programme has led to thousands of skills disappearing at either Yard.

It is important that the Government stand committed to the layout of the Type 45 Programme, which in itself will assist the current employee levels and enhance future prospects. This would allow us to stabilise the workforce at BAE SYSTEMS for the first time in 20 years.

It also allows us to confidently carry out work within research and development of Shipbuilding in a fashion that we have never been able to achieve before.

The current work Programme at Clydeside just now is very thin and this opportunity should not be wasted in relation to the re-training of the skills within either Yard. From the unskilled to the skilled and including the technical areas this would allow us to cut down completion time of the ship and increase the education, training and qualifications of the workforces.

The Government should be asked to assist in this area, as an order book worth £5 billion should not be treated lightly in relation to the finished article.

The movement and transfer of work and labour in the short term is also something which should be seriously considered as the next few months will be vitally important in holding the skills and experience which have to be retained for the stability and future work Programme.


The future employment prospects on Clydeside in our view shows a growth factor in 2-3 years with the Type 45 Programme under way between now and then serious concentration must be made beyond having a heavy reliance on MoD work. We should of course continue to seek orders from foreign countries that require frigates, destroyers or offshore vessels. We have shown that in the export market we can survive and produce a quality product and should continue our efforts in those areas overseas.

At the same time an investigation should be carried out into the possibilities of attaining Merchant Shipbuilding work, as the world market would allow us to bid for work of a general nature or of a specialised product. We should not forget that we have the combined experience within the employees of Clydeside of doing Merchant Shipbuilding and MoD work.

To put all our experiences into one type of build would in time lead to further threats of redundancies.

We cannot properly rely on any UK Government due to the changing nature of the world arena. Our view is that a Partnership between Company, Government and the Employees cannot only enhance the job security, but lead to employment levels growing, maybe not in thousands, but certainly hundreds making Clydeside cost efficient and competitive within the world market, not requiring subsidies, but being able to make a tender for a ship or ships based in quality, time and cost.

Yours sincerely
Jim Moohan
GMB Senior Organiser & Chairman of the CSEU

29 April 2002

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