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Saturday, 23 March, 2002, 19:09 GMT
Rethink plea over naval jobs
Sub worker
Workers at several ports will be affected
Ministers have been urged to rethink plans to cut up to 1,000 jobs at Ministry of Defence shipyards.

Unions have reacted angrily to an expected announcement that the jobs will go as part of the UK Government's warship review.

Jack Dromey, National Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, said ministers must think again and put "defence before dogma".

Jack Dromey
Jack Dromey: Warning of action
Jim Moohan, of the GMB Union, said the effect of cuts would be "devastating", particularly for Scottish workers who are expected to bear the brunt of the cuts.

Dumbarton Labour MP John McFall, who represents workers at the Faslane and Coulport sites - part of the Clyde Naval Base - said the move would be "unacceptable".

An announcement on a shake-up of naval services at Devonport, Portsmouth and Faslane and Coulport is expected in the Commons on Monday.

Alongside job losses, another 3,000 workers are likely to see their positions privatised.

The Ministry of Defence has restricted comment to describing fears of job losses as "speculation".

Mr Dromey warned that workers at Britain's naval bases would "stand as one" if there were compulsory redundancies, raising the possibility of industrial action.

This decision will add to the misery already inflicted there by recent closures and cutbacks at other major industries

Jim Moohan, GMB union
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Mr Dromey said: "We hope that even at this late stage ministers will see reason and put defence before dogma."

Mr Moohan voiced concern for the Clyde workers, who would suffer a "below the belt" blow.

He said: "West Dunbartonshire is already an unemployment blackspot with one of the highest unemployment rates in Scotland.

"This decision will add to the misery already inflicted there by recent closures and cutbacks at other major industries in the area.

John McFall
John McFall: "Not the end of the road"
"What is really galling is that the government has known for some years this would happen and have done nothing in regard to the provision of retraining or reskilling for the workforce."

Mr Moohan also warned that there would be no long-term security for workers in privatised jobs at the yards.

Mr McFall expressed disappointment at the threat to jobs.

He said: "For three years I have been working along with the unions and workforce in presenting a proposal to the MoD that would keep these jobs in the public sector.

"I've had meetings with the secretary of state Geoff Hoon on at least six occasions.

"If these rumours are to be confirmed then I will find them totally unacceptable and on Monday I will be making clear that this is not the end of the road."

The BBC's John Morrison
"The unions say workers feel bitter and betrayed"
See also:

22 Mar 02 | England
Navy to cut dock jobs
07 Mar 02 | Scotland
Naval workers walk out
12 Dec 00 | Scotland
Unions urge Faslane rethink
04 Aug 00 | Scotland
'Private' nuclear base claim denied
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