Union deal saves jobs at historic Belfast shipyard

Workers had occupied the site to fight for their jobs.

Unions have hailed a deal to save jobs at a worker-occupied shipyard as ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

A deal struck for embattled Harland and Wolff workers in Belfast will safeguard all jobs at iconic site.

The shipyard went into administration last week after its troubled Norwegian parent company, Dolphin Drilling, failed to find a buyer.

More than 100 workers have occupied the Belfast site 24-hours a day for almost three weeks as part of GMB’s campaign to save the famous yard where the Titanic was built.

Administrators BDO have now announced an extension of a temporary unpaid lay-off of the workforce to facilitate ongoing “positive discussions” with would-be buyers.

The deal struck by GMB and Unite means when a buyer is found, the jobs will be transferred to the new owner under existing terms and conditions. 

GMB say unions had done what government failed to do by underwriting the security of employment of this workforce.

Denise Walker, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

“At last there is some light at the end of the tunnel for these embattled Harland and Wolff workers. By underwriting the security of employment of this workforce, our unions have done what government had utterly failed to do.

“They are still not getting paid, but at least they know their jobs – on existing terms and conditions – will be safe when a buyer is found.

“And we are confident a buyer will be found. This is a testament to the workers’ bravery and tenacity in occupying the yard non-stop for nearly three weeks.”

It comes as the Scottish Government announced they will nationalise the under-threat Ferguson shipyard to save jobs.

Scottish Green transport spokesperson John Finnie welcomed the news:

“I am glad the government has seen sense and brought the yard into public ownership.

“This secures vital lifeline ferries for our island communities, but it could also support the transition to a low carbon economy if used strategically. This would require the leadership and courage at the yard to take a long-term view.”

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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6 Responses to “Union deal saves jobs at historic Belfast shipyard”

  1. Tom Sacold

    Well done !!!

  2. Julia Gibb

    Well done?

    Shall we just ignore the bigotry? A place of work which only employs Protestants?
    Is this the aspiration of a Labour movement to turn a blind eye to a trade union run by the Orange Order for one half of society.

    Are we to applaud a group who for decades barred their fellow citizens the right to employment.

    A true socialist would demand the end to sectarianism in the workplace instead of applauding this.

  3. Julia Gibb

    The article is disgraceful by its comparison of two very different stories.
    H&W is a story of bigots and division.
    Ferguson’s demonstrates TU, workforce and SG working together.

    The author is obviously trying to mislead the reader by the mix.

  4. Chester Draws

    “This secures vital lifeline ferries for our island communities, but it could also support the transition to a low carbon economy if used strategically. This would require the leadership and courage at the yard to take a long-term view.”

    And, luckily, it will be powered by unicorn farts.

    The “if” there is doing more work than any if should be expected to do. “Leadership” being paying people to make things no-one wants. And “courage” is to do that which no sensible person would do.

  5. Julia Gibb

    Chester has just proven my point regarding the conflation of two very distinct stories.

    O/T
    Another attempt to claim all would be well if only Scotland embraced the Labour Party again

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/we-are-not-your-hostage/

  6. Tom Sacold

    A win for the workers.
    Ritual superstition has nothing to do with it.

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