One of Britain's largest trade unions, the General Municipal Boilmakers (GMB), boasting over 600,000 members has blasted the British government's decision to offer contracts to build the country's future naval war-vessels to overseas consortiums, calling it "a betrayal of May's red, white and blue Brexit," intended to benefit British industry.
GMB claims in its report "Turning the Tide," published today that the United Kingdom is entitled under current EU rules to prefer domestic shipyards to meet its naval defense needs.
Among the lucrative contracts signed in recent years have been the 2012 MARS tanker contract granted to the South Korean company Daewoo. As of September 2017, Britain's future naval fleet is reportedly being developed by South Korean, Dutch, Italian, German, Spanish and Polish consortiums, opening the way for potential complications as the UK leaves the EU.
The UK currently accounts for 0.4 percent of newly manufactured vessels worldwide, compared to its peak in the 1940s when it produced roughly half of all vessels globally.
It calls on the Ministry of Defense to ensure that government funding for the acquisition of the country's future fleet should focus on stimulating domestic employment as well as preferencing British industries when acquiring the materials used to manufacture its defense equipment.
There's NO excuse for sending new Fleet Solid Support ship contracts overseas. We already have a highly skilled UK shipbuilding workforce, which this work would add to, more than capable of making them at a fair market price >> new findings https://t.co/E5EpIs39Ew #MakingIt pic.twitter.com/vDFsOVVIr8— GMB UNION (@GMB_union) April 19, 2018
I lead a debate in January on the Govt’s shipbuilding strategy where I called for all the new Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships to be built in Britain. Good to see his call being promoted again today alongside the @GMB_union #Makingit https://t.co/Rhztr3tJtu— Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) April 19, 2018
New RFA ships that support the @RoyalNavy should be built in Britain. I called for this in January in a debate on shipbuilding in the Commons. Good to see the @GMB_union pushing for it today alongside @NiaGriffithMP https://t.co/6xp6MOH6dh— Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) April 19, 2018
On April 18 the UK's National Audit Office reported on severe gaps in staffing levels in the British armed forces that it projected to remain for at least the next five years, with particularly acute skills shortages in critical sectors such as engineering, piloting and intelligence.