Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Time for Us to Fight for Jobs

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Time for Us to Fight for Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gayle Tomlinson

Employers and unions join the battle to win work to help rescue Tyne shipyards from a bleak future

Today the Chronicle calls on the Government to act urgently to safeguard thou-sands of jobs on the Tyne.

Shipyard jobs on the river hang in the balance, dependent on millions of pounds' worth of orders from the Ministry of Defence.

Twenty-three Swan Hunter workers are travelling to London tomorrow to lobby North East MPs to back their fight.

The Chronicle is supporting the GMB union campaign for assurances from the Government that Tyneside gets its share of the work.

This comes as Swans was today forced to announce 400 redundancies at the yard as work dries up.

A&P Tyne in Hebburn is in the process of making 46 redundant, and Amec in Wallsend shut its doors with the loss of hundreds of jobs earlier their year.

The delegation is highlighting the 600,000 tonnes of vessels the MOD wants built in the next 15 to 20 years. Among the up-and-coming projects are the two aircraft carriers, which are set to be built at Swan Hunter from 2008.

Workers fear that a two-year gap between 2006 and 2008 in Swan Hunter's order books will see work given to yards in Scotland or, even worse, overseas.

A programme to replace all Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels and a project to build a new joint casualty treatment ship is up for grabs.

There are also a number of smaller projects on the cards, many of which could be brought forward to fill the work gap at Swan Hunter.

These programmes do not just mean work for workers in the yard. It will also safeguard the future for many smaller companies which rely on the river for income, including hundreds of contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers across the region.

Already, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has given the region his backing ( but now Swan Hunter relies on Chancellor Gordon Brown to come up with the cash so that some of the projects can be brought forward. …

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