More than 100 workers have occupied the Belfast site 24-hours a day for almost three weeks as part of a joint GMB / Unite campaign to save the famous Titanic yard. A recent deal struck by unions will safeguard all jobs at iconic Harland and Wolff shipyard.
GMB and Unite members took over the iconic yard – where the Titanic was built – at noon 30th of July. They opened the gates only to let in administrators. Harland and Wolff steelworker and Unite member Joe Passmore said “exasperated” workers took control of the yard after attempts to find an agreement with management failed. The workers were furious, so yhey decided to take matters into their own hands.
The shipyard went into administration after its troubled Norwegian parent company, Dolphin Drilling, failed to find a buyer. Administrators BDO on Thursday announced an extension of a temporary unpaid lay-off of the workforce to facilitate ongoing “positive discussions” with would-be buyers.
The deal struck by the unions means when a buyer is found, the jobs will be transferred to the new owner under existing terms and conditions. GMB said the unions had done what government failed to do by underwriting the security of employment of this workforce.
GMB senior organiser Denise Walker said: “At last there is some light at the end of the tunnel for these embattled Harland and Wolff workers. By underwriting the security of employment of this workforce, our unions have done what government had utterly failed to do.
“They are still not getting paid, but at least they know their jobs – on existing terms and conditions – will be safe when a buyer is found.
“And we are confident a buyer will be found. This is a testament to the workers’ bravery and tenacity in occupying the yard non-stop for nearly three weeks.”
Source: Union News