Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Union Chief in Warning on REPLACINGTRIDENT Jobs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Union Chief in Warning on REPLACINGTRIDENT Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth Regional Affairs Reporter

SCRAPPING Trident would place skilled manufacturing jobs in the North East in jeopardy, unions say - and replacing those roles would be a "herculean task".

The criticism from GMB's regional organiser for the North, Chris Jukes, is levelled at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs who say the country should not spend the PS100bn needed over the next 25 years on a new nuclear deterrent for Britain.

The party is currently committed to renewing Trident but Mr Corbyn wants to change policy and see "conventional" defence equipment funded while an investment strategy would ensure skilled jobs are provided.

The GMB, however, says this approach is not realistic and countless jobs in the region would be thrown into doubt.

Mr Jukes said: "The supply chain stretches across the length and breadth of the UK in many constituencies.

"The reality is it would take a herculean task to finish Trident work on one day and start up other equivalent civilian work, even if funded by Government, the next day. Life just does not work like that."

Twenty businesses across the North East - 10 in Tyne and Wear, three in Durham, four in Northumberland and three in Teesside - are involved in the supply chain of Britain's Navy defence submarines. Chancellor George Osborne announced an additional PS500m to overhaul HM Naval Base Clyde in August, reaffirming the Government's commitment to Trident. The move places pressure on the Labour Party to clarify its position on Trident - and the jobs that come with it.

Mr Jukes' words comes after the new Labour leader was castigated by his own front bench for refusing to say he would be prepared to use nuclear weapons if he was Prime Minister.

The GMB organiser said: "Never mind arguments about to press or not to press the red button. The reality on the ground is that the diverse skill base around Barrow and in the supply chain is second to none.

"Over 100 apprentices have been taken on with many more in the pipeline next year. These are real skills, real jobs, and real young people, who will go on to achieve great things. …

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