Unite accused Cammell Laird bosses of deliberately seeking confrontation today (Friday November 30) after they refused the union’s offer to suspend industrial action in return for a pause to plans to make 291 people redundant.
Bosses refused a proposal allowing time for an action plan to be put together to fill the gap in work the shipbuilder is using as the reason for slashing 40 per cent of the workforce.
Instead the shipbuilder is pressing ahead with the job cuts that could see workers put out a job the week before Christmas leaving workers with little option but to press ahead with further industrial action, Unite said.
Unite has notified Cammell Laird today that rolling strike action will be extended from Friday December 14 until Friday January 18 2019 while an overtime ban is in place until 07:00 on Friday February 1 2019.
The latest developments come as Unite steps up its efforts to bring forward work at Cammell Laird in a bid to remove the threat of job losses and protect essential skills for the industry.
In addition to calling on the UK government to bring forward work on the Royal Navy’s Type 45 frigate, Dreadnought submarine and Royal Auxiliary Fleet, Unite is working with politicians and Cammell Laird customers such as BAE Systems.
“We have told Cammell Laird on a number of occasions that we are prepared to suspend strike action if bosses halt the redundancies to allow time for an action plan to be put together to plug the gap in work, Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said.
“Instead they are pressing ahead with callous plans that will put people on the dole the week before Christmas. Such heartless action has left our members with little option but to extend their industrial action in defence of their livelihoods.
“The support that striking Cammell Laird workers have received from the community and local politicians is overwhelming. We would urge Cammell Laird to wake up to the strength of feeling and do the right thing by halting these job cuts and working with us to find solutions,” he added.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “I met the Cammell Laird boss this week and urged him to work with Unite to find a solution that avoids job losses and protects essential skills for the yard.
“While Cammell Laird seems more interested in provoking confrontation than working constructively, Unite will leave no stone unturned in safeguarding skilled jobs alongside the families and communities that rely upon them.
“In addition to demanding that the government stops ‘sitting on its hands’ as shipyards across the country face a growing crisis, Unite is working to bring forward already scheduled work for Cammell Laird to fill the short-term gap.
“We are demanding that the government steps up and brings forward already committed work from the Royal Navy while we work with other key customers to bring projects scheduled for later in 2019 into the yard early.”
He concluded, “There is no reason for these job losses and it is time Cammell Laird started working constructively with Unite, and for everyone with an interest in a strong future for UK shipbuilding, to come together to protect vital skills and jobs before they are lost forever.”