Devon Shipbuilders Appeal for Gov’t to Intervene

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Workers from Appledore Shipbuilders, who face losing their jobs later this month, are meeting with senior civil servants today to urge the government to act. Appledore workers and union Amicus say that the government can save their jobs by reducing an equity payment and eliminating the indemnity guarantees for a lucrative order already won by the yard. Appledore workers and union representatives are meeting with senior civil servants representing Jackie Smith, the new Minister for Industry this afternoon to make their case. They say a contract, to build a unique barge to carry and erect sea wind turbines, would keep the yard open for at least eighteen months and allow it to win other orders. But client Sea Structures have said though that unless the government waives its' requirement for an indemnity guarantee and reduces the equity payment from 20% to 10%, they will take the contract abroad. John Wall, Amicus National Officer said: "The Trade Minister has said she values high skilled jobs and is reviewing the lift red tape on government procurement policies to help save British manufacturing. Now is her chance to act and a lot is riding on the government. "If this closure is allowed to happen, it would be the largest ever single loss of jobs in north Devon and will have catastrophic effects on the local economy." 850 jobs are threatened at the north Devon shipyard, which has a 400-year history of building vessels. If the yard is liquidated as planned in two weeks time, workers will not even be entitled to redundancy payments. Three unions represent workers at Appledore, Amicus, The GMB and TGWU.

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