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    British soldiers board the Royal Navy warship HMS Albion, background, at Santander's port, northern Spain, on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. The warship came to take back to England nearly 800 British soldiers and civilians stranded by the volcanic ash cloud.

    Over-Seas Warship Contracts a 'Betrayal of Brexit' – GMB

    © AP Photo / Alvaro Barrientos
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    Britain’s military shipbuilding industry has declining dramatically over the decades and one of the country’s most powerful unions has called on the government to use Brexit as a chance to revitalize the sector.

    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.

    Naval construction and maintenance, which has declined from its industrial peak in Britain, is worth some US$2.85 billion to the economy and still employs or supports the employment of at least 52,000 people in Britain, a number that the GMB wants to see increased after Britain exits the European Union by increasing its reliance on domestic production.

    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.

    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.

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    unionism, protectionism, Brexit, shipbuilding, Brexit, British Ministry of Defense, European Union, Europe, United Kingdom
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