March for Portsmouth's shipyard


March to keep Portsmouth’s shipyard open

A march organised by unions, including Prospect, against the closure of Portsmouth’s shipyard is being held on Saturday 14 December.

Marchers will assemble at Victory Gate in Queen Street from 11am before moving off at 12pm towards Guildhall Square, where guest speakers will address the rally.

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), comprised of Prospect, Unite, GMB and the construction union, UCATT, is calling on BAE Systems and the government to keep Portsmouth’s historic shipyard open.

In early November, BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence announced the closure of the yard with 900 job losses, bringing an end to 500 years of shipbuilding in Portsmouth.

At the same time, heavy job losses were also announced at several yards across Scotland, although they would remain operational. However, three new Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPVs) would be built at the Govan and Scotstoun yards in Glasgow. 

Prospect negotiator John Ferrett said: “We believe Portsmouth should be given a fair share of shipbuilding work. Retaining work on the aircraft carriers, instead of transferring it to the Clyde, will help to sustain Portsmouth in the short-term.

“Furthermore, by awarding one of the three proposed off-shore patrol vessels to Portsmouth, the dockyard can maintain a minimum level of capability before the work on the carriers arrives.

“By adopting this plan, the government will ensure that a naval shipbuilding capability is maintained in England and that skilled workers are retained in Portsmouth.”

Ferrett said the decision to close Portsmouth a year ahead of the Scottish referendum was ‘not only illogical, but dangerous in terms of the UK losing sovereign shipbuilding capability.’ 

As well as Prospect’s John Ferrett, speakers at the rally on Saturday will include Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, John Denham MP, Hugh Scullion, CSEU general secretary and Dave Hulse, GMB national officer.