In July 2009, the UNITE trade union published a new policy paper:-
"Maintaining a World Class Shipbuilding Sector in the UK"
In summer 2008 UNITE held its annual shipbuilding sector
conference, read about the outcomes in their conference report
This complements its 'Industrial Sector Factsheet:Shipbuilding"
which states that:-
- Shipbuilding and ship repair is an industry of strategic importance to the
UK, the research and development work carried out transposes across many other
- There are more than 150 shipyards in the European Union, employing 55,000
- The Defence Industrial Strategy has provided a clearer, long term
procurement strategy for the sector; this has provided a government commitment
to the long term job security of workers in the sector.
- In the UK 16,000 people are employed in shipbuilding, ship repair and
- The annual turnover of the UK Shipbuilding and Repair industry is £1.6 -
£2.0 billion per annum.
- Amicus represents more than 7,000 members in the Shipbuilding and Repair
Current Issues and Activities
- Over the past 30 years, the UK shipbuilding, repair and conversion industry
has seen substantial rationalisations, mergers and consolidations. This
has been set against a background of increasing shipbuilding capacity in China
and South Korea, and continuing debates about shipbuilding subsidies.
- The industry in the UK is currently over-reliant on MOD contracts for work,
and there is an unhealthy balance of defence versus commercial business.
- The Government’s Defence Industrial Strategy was published in December
2005. It is intended to develop a clearer joint understanding across
government, industry and the unions regarding the technologies and capabilities
that are essential to retain onshore, and to ensure that the skills and
expertise necessary for these strategic capabilities are protected.
- The Ministry of Defence has embarked on the largest procurement programme of
new ships for the Royal Navy. Over the next 15 years, the UK is planning to
replace and upscale its naval fleet. The production period for this work
is 2007-2011, which could create and secure several thousand jobs in UK
shipyards and related industries
- This expansion throws up significant challenges for the sector, these
include; fulfilling increased labour demands with highly skilled workers,
meeting the demand for final assembly and outfitting facilities, ensuring that
long-term industrial investment is encouraged and the implementation of a
training and development strategy that encourages the recruitment of
apprenticeships (of all ages), ensuring that the highly skilled workers needed
to fulfil these contracts are available at the right time.
KOFAC endorses UNITE's policy. In particular, we welcome UNITE's
stance on the need for:-
must be UK based
(b) R + D
must include UK content
(c) IPR of
products must be UK based
KOFAC has urged UNITE to strongly support delivery of the whole of
the planned naval shipbuilding and submarine programmes detailed in the 2005
Defence Industrial Strategy issued by the UK Government, including the Successor