Harland & Wolff: Unions organise another rally at shipyard

One of the previous protests at Harland and Wolff
One of the previous protests at Harland and Wolff
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Organisers of a rally at Harland & Wolff on Friday are hoping for a big turn out in support of workers at the historic Belfast shipyard.

Meanwhile, an online petition urging the secretary of state to intervene to save the shipyard and push for its nationalisation is nearing its target for signatures.

The rally which will take place at 12.30pm at the gates of Harland & Wolf has been facilitated by the Northern Ireland committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) – an umbrella group which includes GMB and Unite.

At the rally GMB along with Unite plan to give an update on the potential sale of the business.

It is hoped other speakers will include representatives from the Fire Brigades Union and also Ferguson Shipyard – the Port Glasgow shipyard that has become nationalised by the Scottish government.

Denise Walker, senior organiser with GMB, said: “This is an opportunity for people to join workers at H&W to show support.

“Nothing has changed since last Friday. There are still two very credible tier one offers to take over the yard and workforce as a going concern.

“The bidding process is left open this week for new bids.

“Our preferred option would be for the shipyard to be nationalised, we can see very clearly how Harland and Wolff would be suited to the private sector and how it would aid the revitalisation of the yard.”

She added: “A number of rallies and meetings have been held to date, we’re hoping this can be the biggest.”

GMB plans has set itself the target of 3,000 signatures on an online petition to be sent to Secretary of State Julian Smith. There are just over 2,300 signatures on the petition.

It asks for Mr Smith to step in on behalf of the government to follow GMB’s call to provide assistance and nationalise the shipyard in order to save local manufacturing jobs, livelihoods and a proud manufacturing community.

The petition states: “The closure of Appledore shipyard, planned job losses at Cammell Laird and British Steel’s future on the brink at Newport and Scunthorpe show how urgently action is needed.”