Better Together trade union chief ‘not happy’ after Indy frigates pledge broken

A leading trade union official who urged Scots to vote No during the 2014 independence campaign claiming it would protect shipbuilding jobs has said he is “not happy” after learning a key pledge given to Scottish shipbuilders during that same campaign has been broken.

Duncan McPhee, a senior shop steward with Unite at BAE systems Scotstoun yard was responding to news that Type 31e Frigates initially promised to Clydeside yards will now be built on Merseyside.

The news was confirmed in a press release issued by BAE systems, the company which owns the Scotstoun and Govan yards.  The statement confirmed that BAE Systems will partner with Cammell Laird, who would ‘Prime, build and assemble’ the vessels at their Merseyside facility.

Responding, McPhee said: “We are not happy, these are ships we would have expected to be built on the Clyde. As far as we are concerned they should have been part of the 13 ship package we were clearly promised.”

The news is a devastating blow to Clydeside workers who were promised thirteen Type 26 Frigates during the independence referendum.

McPhee, the Unite union convenor at Scotstoun, encouraged by the promise from the UK government, urged fellow Scots to reject independence during the referendum campaign claiming the future of Scottish shipbuilding depended on Scotland remaining in the UK.

Duncan McPhee and John Dolan, GMB Convenor at the same shipyard, jointly authored a piece in which they argued that being “better together” was good for Scottish shipbuilding.

In the article, entitled ‘A Future for Scottish Shipbuilding on the Clyde’, the two union officials wrote: “BAE has announced its intention to close one of its UK yards and the uncertainty of the independence referendum has put the Clyde shipyards at risk.”

They added: “We believe our industry is one of the best examples of why we are better together, because the benefits to being part of the UK are very real.”

However, immediately after the September 2014 vote which returned a win for the pro-Union camp, the promised thirteen Type 26 frigates was unexpectedly reduced to eight.  The expectation that the shortfall would be replaced by Type 31 frigates has been dashed with today’s announcement.

SNP Defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald MP said the decision was a “slap in the face for the Clyde yards”.

He added: “We have the skills, the expertise, the infrastructure in Scotland – but what we have also had is years of promises from Westminster – that have been broken.

“A key component of a steady stream of work for Scottish shipbuilding is this new T31e smaller frigate. So the suggestion they will be built elsewhere is of real concern.”

The announcement is the latest in a series of broken pledges made to Scots during the independence referendum.  Other pledges that have since been broken include protection of HMRC jobs, support for renewable projects and of course membership of the European Union.


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16 thoughts on “Better Together trade union chief ‘not happy’ after Indy frigates pledge broken

  1. Pogo

    When the time is right everyone of these broken pledges needs to be plastered on every bill board and bus stop in the country to remind folk of the lying, conniving and cheating of the Brit Nat state.

  2. Big Jock

    Honestly he can go and f**ck himself. I have no sympathy. He chose Westminster over Edinburgh. What outcome did he expect.

    Fed up listening to these self serving clowns.

  3. Brian Powell

    Yeah, well. Shop stewards believing what a Tory Government tells him and has he forgotten Ian Davidson, Scottish Labour Co- operative MP, asking if a clause could be inserted in the ship contracts that they would be moved to an English dockyard if Scotland voted Yes to Independence.
    He represented the workers on the Clyde.

  4. Clydebuilt

    If Duncan McPhee sees the light and fights for Independence, in my book that’s fine. What’s happened has happened . We are where we are. He can if he chooses encourage many others to move to YES.

    I could very very easily have written Big Jock’s post, but it ain’t going to win Indy.

  5. Big Jock

    Clydebuilt – The problem is these people don’t move on they revert to type. Look at how quickly Simon Pia returned to Labour.

    If they think Labour can win in England they will forget all about independence. They sold their workers out and that can’t be forgiven. Sorry it’s not in my gift to simply whitewash history.

    Their commitment to Scotland comes with the caveat that serves their own narrow interest. I will vote for my nation they will vote for their job.

  6. Clydebuilt

    Some where over recent months I read that Fergusons in Port Glasgow were being invited to tender for MoD work. . . .

    Translated into the truth

    Ferguson’s were being invited to become entrapped , to allow Wesminister to decide when and if to give them work. . . . Finally to decide When the yard should close.

    Jim McColl don’t fall for it!

  7. Big Jock

    Kane Retweeted Simon Pia

    That didn’t last long, Simon. On Trident, PR & to ensure that it’s not just WM centralism in new boots, Scots should vote SNP in next GE, where a multi-party progressive majority is the best outcome for these islands.

    Simon Pia‏

    Radical, progressive, liberal Scots should all consider voting Lab next GE for real change in status quo (Indy, as SNP know, back burner)
    12:20 am – 13 Oct 2017 From Edinburgh, Scotland

    Trouble with old labourites is they don’t understand how to get independence. Voting labour = Unionist.

  8. Davy

    Frankly if you are a Scot or work in Scotland and you chose to believe a tory or labour Westminster promise : You are a fucking idiot and deserve everything you get.

    How can Scots forget the two generations of Thatcher / Blair broken Westminster promises, lost industry’s and a wrecked economy.

    How can you trust a political party controlled and based in London, they are always going to back the UK country with the most party members, and that is not Scotland.

    Sorry but the “NO” voters in the ship-building industry in Scotland did this to themselves and their family’s by not trusting their fellow Scots and believing in their own country. Instead they chose to believe tory and labour politician’s and activists backed by unionist MSM.

    They made the choice, so why don’t they take it up with their union leaders and the unionist parties, because I have no sympathy left for them.

  9. Big Jock

    Yep Davy, and they will repeat the same idiotic mistakes over and over again. That’s why I have no accommodation to make for men of straw.

    They fell for the vow, the farmers fell for the Tories, the fishermen fell for Brexit. Their real enemy is WM but they aim their anger at Scotland and Brussels.

    These people are not my countrymen.

  10. Alastair

    The Unite and GMB workers are the people we need to convert next time round. Telling people to go and **** themselves because they made a bad call is hardly the best way to win friends is it? We DO however need to make sure nobody forgets this and and everybody understands that a Westminster promise (whether Tory or Labour) is worth less than forged Monopoly money!

    1. Davy

      Sorry Alistair but do you think the next independence referendum those same union leaders and the same unionist politicians are going to say anything different to the shipbuilding workers.

      Do you think Westminster is not going to make similar promises of fantasy ships next time around. How many bad calls does it take before it sinks in that the unionist parties will lie, lie and lie again to the shipbuilders and any other industry in Scotland to get what they want.

      And if you are daft enough to believe a unionist Westminster three years back, on your own heads be it.

      Come the next referendum who’s the shipbuilding workforce going to believe , the proven liars or Scotland. your guess is as good as mine.

  11. ian murray

    It takes a long time for folk in Scotland to change their minds.
    We need to show these workers how many ships are being built around the world
    How many ships Norway are producing
    Our shipyards can prosper without the MOD which is only going to face more cut backs in the coming years
    We are not dependent on scraps off their table

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