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James Cook reports
"The government has hit out at speculation"
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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 05:30 GMT 06:30 UK
Unions in 'final push' for shipyard
SeaLion graphic
The yard is part of a consortium seeking the deal
Unions have announced plans to step up their efforts to save the Govan shipyard on the Clyde.

They have pledged to increase the pressure on the UK Government to provide work for the BAE Systems yard in Glasgow.

The campaign has been launched amid speculation that the yard has lost out on a lucrative contract to build six roll-on roll-off ferries for the Ministry of Defence - despite assurances that no final decision on the tender has been made.

Danny Carrigan
Danny Carrigan: Involved in a union strategy meeting
The AEEU union said it planned to host a strategy meeting where it would launch its "Seven Days to Save Govan" campaign.

AEEU Scottish regional secretary Danny Carrigan said: "We're going to have one last push to get the decision right for Govan.

"We're going to spend the next seven days lobbying hard for Govan. We've got seven days to save Govan."

The ferries contract is worth an estimated 200m, with spin-off work expected to take the total value to 1bn.

It was put out to tender last year and a decision has been expected for many months, with workers at Govan left on tenterhooks.

The yard, which is part of the SeaLion consortium bidding for the work, needs the work to secure a future for the 3,000 workers.

'Right decisions'

Management and unions at the yard have been involved in a long campaign to land the deal.

Fresh reports emerged on Monday that Govan had lost out to Merseyside-based Cammell Laird and Danish shipping group Maersk.

Yard worker
The future of the yard has been in doubt for months
The speculation prompted Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid to stress that no decision had been taken as yet.

He said: "I understand that people want decisions as early as possible but people also want the right decisions and better to have it right than to have it rushed.

"There is no guarantee for anybody that there's a magic wand that can be waved but every effort is being made to give the workers at Govan a good chance."

Earlier this year it was reported that a German yard had undercut Govan for the ferry work.

The MoD refused to comment on those reports but said it was putting the contract out to tender for a second time and cited business reasons.

In two years' time, the first of the MoD's Type 45 Frigates will be built at nearby Scotstoun and Govan is expected to benefit from spin-off work.

Union officials and politicians backing the Govan yard say it must have more substantial work in the meantime to survive.

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | Scotland
Reid dismisses shipyard doubts
21 Jul 00 | Scotland
Question over vital ferries order
13 Jul 00 | Economy
Unions hail shipbuilding summit
11 Jul 00 | Scotland
Warships order protects jobs
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