Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Yard Boss Launches Attack on Pay Deal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Yard Boss Launches Attack on Pay Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rajeshree Sisodia

A shipyard boss last night dropped a bombshell on hopes for industrial harmony on the Tyne by saying he would walk away from a groundbreaking deal on pay and conditions.

Dutch businessman Jaap Kroese - who came to the helm of the Tyneside shipyard Swan Hunter in 1994 - vowed he would pull out of the Maritime Collective Labour Agreement in the wake of the industrial unrest along the river in recent days.

The agreement was signed last year by Swan Hunter with shipyards Amec and McNulty Offshore and unions GMB and Amicus with the intention of harmonising pay and working conditions for workers at the three yards for three years.

But on Monday 1,200 workers at Swan Hunter and 1,600 at nearby Amec staged an unofficial walk-out in support of sub-contractors, sacked in a row over the fact they are not covered by the

deal. The industrial action brought Swan Hunter, which is working on a Royal Navy amphibious landing vessel contract, and Amec, currently working on the giant Bonga oil platform, to a standstill.

Yesterday the workers returned to the yards and union leaders said they were prepared to negotiate to include sub-contractors in the three-yard deal.

But late last night those plans appeared to be overturned when Mr Kroese said he wanted nothing to do with the agreement in future.

He said he would not risk jeopardising future Swan Hunter contracts - including a share of a pounds 2.9bn aircraft carrier project - through possible strike action.

He told The Journal: "When the agreement expires in 2005, we will have our own shipbuilding agreement at Swan Hunter and that will include the sub-contractors.

"Amec and McNulty will not be included because I want to have my own shipbuilding agreement because we are the only shipbuilders on the Tyne

"I don't give a monkey's. I'm the only one that actually builds ships and I'm the only one that trains young apprentices.

"What the other yards do is up to them. We look after ourselves here. …

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