Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner reacts to the news today (1 October) that the historic Harland and Wolff shipyard has been saved with investment and a programme of future work to follow:
“I always knew that this incredible workforce would fight for and win the future that this community wholeheartedly deserves. They have stood strong and resolute while others were too ready to throw in the towel.
“The grit and determination of this workforce is a beacon of hope to workers everywhere. When others may have walked away, our members, backed by their community and with their union standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them, stood firm to ensure that this iconic and important shipyard now has the fighting chance of the secure future it deserves.
“I want to pay tribute to every single one of our members and their fantastic shop stewards for never giving up, never letting heads droop for a moment, and for the wonderful and touching solidarity our movement and this community has shown in this epic fight.
Trade unionism at its best
“This is trade unionism at its best – focused and driven, putting working people first. It has been a huge test of determination but today hundreds of workers at this yard and thousands more throughout the supply chain can breathe more easily.
“Now, we have work to do. We have a shipyard to get back up and running to its full potential.
“In the coming days we will continue to meet with Infrastrata, the yard’s new owners, and we will seek to secure an outlook that puts this community first and eliminates the insecurity that it has been forced to endure in recent weeks.
“Importantly, the workforce will soon be back at work with a real pride in themselves, supporting their families and wider communities, putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads through skilled work.
“My message to those in government and in power is this, trust working people, the communities you are asked to represent and their unions. We will never give up, we will always fight for our future and you should do so too. I urge you to learn from the courage, vision and inspiration of this community. Support us, do not ignore us whenever we seek solidarity and meaningful support because we want only peace, security and a just future for our communities.”