GMB Wales and South West Welcome Base-Porting of New Frigates at Devonport 16 Oct 2018

GMB Wales and South West are delighted that the cross-party Devonport Task Force campaign has led to the announcement that all of the new Type 26 frigates will be based at Devonport.

This recent success follows another recent victory after Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson decided against moves to offload the Auxiliary Support Vessels HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion, further safeguarding the future of Devonport dockyard. 

The campaign saw a breakout of cross-party unity in the city, with the campaign being championed by both the current council Labour Administration under Tudor Evans as well as the previous administration headed up by the Conservative leader Ian Bowyer.

Matt Roberts, GMB Organiser said: 

"Clyde has the subs, Portsmouth has the carriers, and we feel it's only right that Devonport will now have these frigates. Locally, GMB and Unite started a petition on this last year, supported by Luke Pollard MP, and we have worked with the Devonport Task Force group, including local businesses, universities and politicians. 

"It's great news that the campaign has been successful, but this was always the right decision to bring these frigates to the world-class facilities at Devonport. If they had gone elsewhere it would have really hit the South West economy, so this is another welcome piece of good news following the recent decision on Bulwark and Albion."

You can join the GMB, Britain’s fastest growing Trade Union by clicking here. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Unions launch Broad Campaign to save Appledore Shipyard | News from GMB Wales & South West

Unions launch Broad Campaign to save Appledore Shipyard 5 Oct 2018

The GMB Union and Unite the Union are today launching a new campaign to save Appledore Shipyard from closure, following the news that Babcock have been unsuccessful in winning a key order.

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Appledore is a source of great pride for the community producing four high quality offshore patrol vessels for the Irish Naval Service and many sections for both the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, including the bulbous bows, anchor pockets and flight decks. To see a successful shipyard turn profit year-on-year and then struggle to secure work for this committed workforce is sickening.

Since January, workers have been temporarily redeployed by Babcock to Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, but with no sign of any work still, the situation is becoming more precarious by the day, and there are huge question marks over how many more months this will continue. Many workers have been travelling on buses from Bideford to Plymouth daily in what is a four-hour round trip. Others have taken temporary accommodation in Plymouth. It is now known amongst the workforce that the Armed Forces of Malta have selected the Italian yard Vittoria to build an offshore patrol vessel that the Appledore workforce were pinning much of their hope on. Babcock continue to try to secure other work for the site.

New research from the unions highlights the massive impact closure could have on the economy. Under conservative estimates this includes a potential £490,000 per year in lost income tax, £380,000 per year in lost NI, £300,000 per year in lost council tax, and an £800,000 increase in the benefits bill. This is not to mention VAT and other taxation.

Chris Bright, GMB Union Acting Convenor at the shipyard said: 

"Members and their families are worried about losing their homes and having to move out of North Devon to find work, if the yard closes. Beyond Christmas it's anyone's guess what will happen to us. We continue to meet with the company on an ongoing basis."

Barry Hooper, Unite the Union Convenor said: 

"The workforce are really concerned about the future, and morale is low. Many of the workers have now been on the buses back and forth to Plymouth since January. The mood is tense."

Jake McLean, GMB Union Representative on the shopfloor said:

"When I left school I drifted and struggled from job to job in low paid agency work. I then went into Appledore as a unskilled labourer, went through an NVQ to learn a trade to set me up for the future, and I am proud to now be a fabricator with Babcock. I would like to think there could be a future for the yard for my children and grandchildren. It would devastating to lose the shipbuilding skills and history in North Devon. 197 ships have been built here and we don't want this to be the end. I don't want to see my children in minimum wage dead end jobs in the future, struggling to make ends meet. North Devon can't rely on just tourism and farming."

Matt Roberts, GMB Union Regional Organiser said: 

"The news of the latest potential major work going to an Italian competitor is a huge blow to an already under-threat yard. This feels like a few more nails in the coffin of shipbuilding on the River Torridge. The skills at Appledore cannot be turned on and off like a tap. In other countries, governments would support their industry during troughs in work and provide the conditions for advanced manufacturing to thrive. Everyone associated with Appledore is gutted at the latest news coming out, but the unions will not accept this is the beginning of the end. We will keep fighting for shipbuilding to continue here."

Heathcliffe Pettifer, Unite the Union Regional Officer said: 

"When you consider that the government's National Shipbuilding Strategy was effectively written around Appledore, it's incredible that we are in this position. As a local resident, I know the effect on local businesses this will have and I fear the decline of the area. The unions will be organising a mass rally in Bideford in support of the yard, and we hope this will be widely supported. Considering that the wages at foreign yards can be more than double what Appledore workers are paid, and the cost of some of the recent ships they have built at Appledore were around the £50 million mark, compared to similar ships by competitors at around £125 million a ship, how can this site not be viable."

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GMB supports Vaughan Gething AM to be the next leader of Welsh Labour | News from GMB Wales & South West

GMB supports Vaughan Gething AM to be the next leader of Welsh Labour 5 Oct 2018

GMB, Wales General Union, has endorsed Vaughan Gething AM as its choice in the Welsh Labour leadership race. 

GMB, Wales General Union has endorsed Vaughan Gething as its choice in the Welsh Labour leadership race. 

The Union is the first of Wales’ major unions to nominate a Candidate after nominations closed on Wednesday, after Carwyn Jones AM officially announced his timetable to stand down.

The Union praised Vaughan’s ‘fresh vision for Wales’ but admitted that it had been a very tough decision that ‘went right down to the wire’, declaring that the committee were ‘spoiled for choice’.

Members will now be balloted under Welsh Labour’s new electoral system which will see Trade Union members balloted alongside Labour members as outlined at Labour's special conference in Cardiff last month.

John Phillips, GMB Regional Secretary for Wales and South West, said:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Vaughan as GMB’s preferred choice, and offer my commiseration's to Eluned and Mark.

“All three of the candidates made fantastic submissions and the decision went right down to the wire. The committee felt that we were spoiled for choice, and whoever comes out on top, we know that they will make a fantastic leader of the Welsh Labour movement.

“However we felt that Vaughan offered the most progressive vision with GMB values at its heart, and that that he would be best able to communicate the values of the Labour movement and this trade union to the wider public.”

Mike Payne, GMB Political officer for Wales and South West, said:

“I think that one of the major points that swung it for the panel was Vaughan’s history in the Trade Union movement, and his commitment to put those values at the very front of his administration should he be elected.

“Vaughan obviously has extremely strong links with not just with GMB, but all Trades Unions from his time as a Trade Union lawyer for Thompsons and serving a stint as the head of NUS Cymru and as president of Wales TUC.

“We know that if elected as first minister he will put these values into practice, and we are excited by the energy, enthusiasm and optimism he will bring to the role if elected.”

Vaughan Gething AM tweeted: 

"I’m genuinely humbled and honoured to have GMB Wales and South West support me. I’m aware of the huge task ahead of me to live up to the expectations of all GMB members across Wales and the wider UK. 

"Thank you GMB for your support, I won’t let you down."

You can join the GMB, Britain’s fastest growing Trade Union by clicking hereYou can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

As a GMB member you can join the Labour Party for only £1.80 a month, that's only £21.50 a year. You can join the Labour Party immediately online now. Just visit or download a Labour Party application form.

You can read the candidate statements to GMB from Vaughan Gething AM,  Mark Drakeford AM and Eluned Morgan AM.

Welsh Labour Leadership - Mark Drakeford AM | News from GMB Wales & South West

Welsh Labour Leadership - Mark Drakeford AM 4 Oct 2018

I am grateful to the GMB for the opportunity to set out to you the reasons why I have put my name forward for leadership of the Wales Labour Party and for First Minister of Wales.

My personal case is simply this - the coming period will see our country face unprecedented challenges.

The deepest and most unremitting period of austerity in nearly two centuries is set to continue. Leaving the EU will leave the UK, and Wales, poorer; our influence in the world diminished and our security less certain.

As the Finance Minister in the only Labour administration in the UK, every day I face what Aneurin Bevan called the "religion of socialism" – the struggle to ensure our ever-shrinking resources match Labour’s key priorities for our economy, our environment and our public services.

If I become Labour Leader then my determination will be to revive and reapply in today’s circumstances a set of fundamental and enduring democratic socialist principles forged here in Wales and which have shaped the whole of my political life.

Past record includes:

  • Giving Welsh Government support to Mick Antoniw’s Asbestos Bill which was rejected in the Supreme Court on technical grounds. Using our new tax raising powers I want to explore how this Bill, which was passed by the Assembly, can be restored.
  • Negotiating arrangements with the Trades Unions which made NHS Wales a living wage employer.
  • Actively supporting the Agriculture Wales Act which restored rights to Agriculture workers in Wales.
  • Successfully introducing the Trades Union Wales Act which disapplied parts of the UK Tory Governments anti-trades union legislation.
  • Developing and implementing the Welsh Governments Ethical Employment Codes on procurement and opposing blacklisting and anti-trades union activities by companies.

We have a unique social partnership in Wales between business, government and trades unions. It has been successful and totally contrary to the policies of conflict at the heart of the UK Tory Government.

However we can and must go further. The growth of economic and social inequality lies at the heart of our difficulties and destabilises our society. We must do what we can to bring an end to:

  • Unfair working practices,
  • Zero hours contracts,
  • Bogus self-employment and the,
  • "Uberization” of employment contracts,
  • Working conditions leading to injury, ill health or death.

Nothing is more important for Wales, and the work we carry out through the Labour Movement here, than a Labour Government in Westminster, at the earliest possible moment. Employment, for example, is a reserved matter outside our competence. While I am committed to stretching our powers to their limit, with imagination and political commitment, imagine how much more we could achieve if we were able to work alongside Labour in power at UK level. That’s why I believe Welsh Labour needs to be led by someone enthusiastic to bring that about.

If I become First Minister I will work with trades unions and the Wales TUC to introduce a Social Partnership Bill to put our social partnership on a statutory basis. It will aim to improve the quality and delivery of public services by setting public procurement rules to achieve ethical standards of employment in skills and training, working conditions, health and safety and putting collective bargaining and genuine trades union rights at its heart.

Working together, we will extend the Economic Contract to ensure that companies wishing to tender for a share of around £5 billion of public contracts at government or public sector level will have to comply with new ethical standards. I will also support the implementation in Wales of Section 1 of the Equalities Act of 2010 and pursue a policy a policy of bringing outsourced services back under public control.

As Finance Minister, in conjunction with other ministers and the Welsh Government, I have found the money needed to develop packages of financial support for manufacturing and steel production in Wales. The support given to Tata in Port Talbot and other plants in Wales was instrumental in ensuring the survival of thousands of jobs in a vital industry. The recent announcements of funding to support skills development at Airbus, Toyota and Ford are part of my determination, at Brexit Minister, to put the needs of jobs and the economy at the centre of what we do. In Wales, that means placing manufacturing at the heart of Government policy. We must protect workers’ rights and protect the investment which leads to jobs. This means tariff and regulatory-free access to the European Market and continued membership of a customs union.

I welcome the GMB General Secretary’s statement , endorsed by the TUC,  that if Theresa May cannot deliver a Brexit deal which protects all these, there has to be a second vote, either in the form of a general election or a second referendum.

As the person who represents Wales at the Brexit table alongside Scottish and UK Ministers, I am intimately aware of the vital agenda which a new First Minister will have to discharge - immediately and urgently - on taking office.

Labour in Wales needs a leader, and Wales will need a First Minister, as fully equipped as possible and with the experience to discharge those responsibilities in the most testing times since devolution.

With support from across the Labour group in the Assembly and from every part of Wales, this is what I believe I can offer.

From the moment I put my name forward to succeed Carwyn Jones, I’ve tried to give the plainest answers I can to the questions asked of me. If elected as both Labour Leader and First Minister, my offer is to take Labour through the second half of this Assembly term, to fight for every vote in the election which will follow and, if successful, to form the next administration and work with all members, affiliates and the trades union movement to develop the radical social and economic agenda which Wales will need.

You can join the GMB, Britain’s fastest growing Trade Union by clicking hereYou can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

As a GMB member you can join the Labour Party for only £1.80 a month, that's only £21.50 a year. You can join the Labour Party immediately online now. Just visit or download a Labour Party application form.

You can read the other candidate statements to GMB from Eluned Morgan AM and Vaughan Gething AM.