Unions show support for Harland and Wolff workers

The Northern Ireland committee of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions (ICTU) hosted a rally of trade unionists in solidarity with the Harland and Wolff workforce and their fight to save the shipyard on Friday. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Northern Ireland committee of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions (ICTU) hosted a rally of trade unionists in solidarity with the Harland and Wolff workforce and their fight to save the shipyard on Friday. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Scores of trade unionists and workers turned out today to show their support for the campaign to save the historic Harland and Wolff shipyard.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions solidarity rally heard from speakers including Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union and Alex Rogan, the GMB convenor at Ferguson Marine.

A large turnout for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions solidarity rally at Harland and Wolff recently. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A large turnout for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions solidarity rally at Harland and Wolff recently. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Newry singer-song writer Tommy Sands received cheers as he returned to the shipyard to sing a song he wrote in support of the efforts.

Steel worker Joe Passmore told the rally: “We are going to stand at this gate and we are not going to move away from this gate until the people that we want to run our shipyard are in control of our shipyard, whatever it takes and we’ll stay there for as long as it takes.

“We are not finished yet, this shipyard has a long, long history. We are very proud of that long, long history and if someone out there thinks that they can easily take that away from Belfast, take it away from this community and take it away from these workers, think again because we are here for as long as it takes.”

Meanwhile, administrators earlier revealed that several non-binding offers have been made for the closure-threatened Belfast shipyard.

BDO Northern Ireland said there was also the potential of further offers for the business.

The administrators said they were extending a temporary unpaid lay-off of the workforce until September 30 to explore the various rescue deal options.

“There has been a healthy level of interest with regard to purchasing the business, assets and safeguarding the existing jobs since the commencement of the administration process,” a statement from BDO said.

“This has resulted in a number of non-binding offers for the business, assets & employees on a going concern basis. There are also other interested parties who are in constructive discussions with the Administrators which may result in further offers.

“The administrators along with the unions and employees have extended the unpaid temporary lay-off position beyond the 16th August 2019 to 30th September 2019 to allow additional time to seek to complete a sale of the business.”