A public meeting will take place tonight as those seeking to save Harland and Wolff look to find a sustainable solution for the shipyard’s future.
The meeting organised by the Save Our Shipyard Trade Union Group along with the Labour Party Northern Ireland takes place in the East Belfast Network Centre in Templemore Avenue at 7pm.
Famed for building the Titanic, Harland and Wolff shipyard went into administration last week after its troubled Norwegian parent company, Dolphin Drilling, failed to find a buyer.
Labour Party Northern Ireland member Dugald McCullough said: “Unite and GMB are the key unions at the shipyard who are taking this situation further and trying to find a way through it. The Labour Party are fully behind them.
“The public meeting is to allow the local community access to the thinking of what the unions are planning and let people voice their concerns and let them hear what possibilities there might be.
“Renationalisation is certainly better than just letting it fall apart, letting the pension scheme collapse.
“We take a positive view that we want to go forward with some kind of vision but we haven’t established clearly what that vision will be.
“It’s a time of uncertainty, but a time of crisis is also a time for opportunity.
“I don’t know how much leadership there is coming from the local politicians in east Belfast.
“Politicians in this area generate their salaries by manipulating sectarian feelings.
“They are not providing hands-on, roll-the-sleeves-up, prepared-to-get-their-hands-dirty leadership that’s going to save jobs and protect livelihoods.
“It would be great if they are, but I just don’t see it.
“It looks like the trade unions have to take the lead with the backing of the Labour Party.
“We represent a socialist alternative to sectarian politics.
“The Labour Party has people in it raised Catholic, raised Protestant, sick to the back teeth of this constant sectarian crossfire that only serves to generate their salaries and never produces a true peaceful outcome.”
Michael Mulholland of the GMB union said: “The meeting will allow us to give an update from unions and also an opportunity to say a massive thank you to the people of east Belfast for their support.”