Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 95-99)


21 NOVEMBER 2006

  Q95 Chairman: Good morning and welcome to this evidence session about the future of the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent. This is the second of a series of inquiries we are doing into the strategic nuclear deterrent. The first was into the global context and the timetable required for decision-making. This one is into the manufacturing and skills base. There will be further inquiries during the course of this Parliament and we are all now waiting for the Government's White Paper. Until that is published, we have to assume that all the options on the future of the deterrent remain open, and so the purpose of this morning's evidence session is to focus on the possibility—and it is only at the moment a possibility—that the United Kingdom might go for a renewal of a submarine-based deterrent. To witnesses and to everybody else I would say please do not take this as a sign that we favour the option of a submarine-based deterrent—we might or we might not—we are simply exploring the implications of various options at the moment, so that is the basis on which we are conducting this evidence session today. Welcome to the witnesses and thank you very much indeed for coming to give evidence. I wonder if you could begin—and we have met some of you before—by introducing yourselves and saying what you do, what your organisations do, where you are based, and what sort of work your members do. Mr Waiting?

  Mr Waiting: Thank you, Chairman. My name is Terry Waiting and I am the Chairman of KOFAC, that is the Keep Our Future Afloat Campaign, in Barrow-in-Furness. It was established in 2004 after the announcement of 700 redundancies in the shipbuilding industry in Barrow. We were set up to lobby for shipbuilding jobs and to make sure that the people that mattered were aware of our concerns, were aware of what was happening in the shipyard and of the changes that were being made. I am Branch Secretary of Amicus, the union. I am also the leader of the local Labour Group on Barrow Borough Council. KOFAC is a community campaign that is led by the trade union movement and that involves the community and people throughout the North West. I think that is all I need to say.

  Q96 Chairman: Thank you. Could you say how many people in Barrow work in the submarine industry?

  Mr Waiting: Directly employed in the submarine industry in Barrow-in-Furness there are now 3,600. That includes 200 contract workers and 3,450 direct workers in the shipyard.

  Q97 Chairman: Thank you very much. Mr Hazlewood?

  Mr Hazlewood: Good morning, Chairman and ladies and gentlemen of the Select Committee. My name is Keith Hazlewood. I am GMB National Secretary for Engineering and Manufacturing. Our head office is in Wimbledon. I have a responsibility for national negotiations in shipbuilding, aerospace, steel, engineering, construction, thermal insulation and the offshore industry. In the submarine programme the GMB members predominantly are steelworkers. These are the people that actually build the ships, the welders, the platers, etc.

  Q98 Chairman: And can you say how many of your members work in the submarine industry?

  Mr Hazlewood: In the two yards that I have association with in Barrow-in-Furness and DML, we have 2,000 members.

  Q99 Chairman: Thank you. Mr Hamilton?

  Mr Hamilton: Good morning, Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bernie Hamilton and I am lead industrial officer for Amicus for the aerospace and shipbuilding sector. I have responsibility for negotiations and conditions of employment within those two industrial sectors. We have membership across the whole spectrum of the industry covering design, research, fabrication and manufacturing skills, and in every establishment that is involved in this sector of industry at Devonport, Faslane, Barrow, Rolls-Royce and Aldermaston.

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