Trade Union Movement fully supports workers at Harland & Wolff

5 Aug 2019

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Today (Monday 5th August) is the deadline for administrators to take control of the affairs of the iconic shipyard and the futures of the Harland & Wolff workforce.

"On this day, the entire trade union movement across these islands stands as one with the workers at the shipyard," said Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

"Since this crisis began a few days ago, there has been a huge outpouring of moral support and solidarity from trade union activists and leaders, with rallies, media events, political lobbies and even family entertainment for the workers and their families.

"There has been some substantial political support from local political parties, from Belfast City Council and from the UK Labour Party. Sadly, that support has not been matched by the new UK Government, and it is time for the new NI Secretary of State to take action to preserve those jobs and to invest in skilled manufacturing. Nothing, except political will, prevents the UK Government nationalising the shipyard, and maintaining it as a going concern until further contacts can be competed for and awarded."

Alison Millar, Vice-President of ICTU, added that her union NIPSA "has been privileged to lend support to the shipyard workers and their families at this frightening time for them. Their determination and eloquence has shown up those who feel that they can speak for 'ordinary people'.

"Trade unionists from all parts of Ireland and Britain, have expressed support for these workers from Northern Ireland, and they deserve the support of the state. As leader of a large public sector union, I view a nationalised shipyard as being a potentially great asset for the state, an opportunity for investment in high-skilled Green jobs, a space for practical outcomes of a long-overdue Manufacturing Strategy.

"We cannot allow this opportunity to be squandered and asset-stripped by vulture businesses. The yard should be returned to the people."