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Protect our defence industry!

One of the reasons for the need for more apprentices is Britain’s need to maintain its defence capability. For obvious reasons, safety is critical in the maintenance of defence facilities, and that means well trained engineers.

The development and maintenance of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system is a huge operation. The system comprises three elements: Vanguard-class submarines, Trident missiles and nuclear warheads.

Although the SNP constantly complains about the siting of nuclear weapons in Scotland, the nuclear deterrent is British and highly skilled work involved in it is spread across Britain, mostly in England.

Sites include Aldermaston, where Trident warheads are designed, manufactured and maintained; Devonport, where submarines have their nuclear reactors refuelled and refurbished; Rosyth, where nuclear subs are decommissioned; Barrow, Raynesway (Derby), Sellafield, Faslane, Coulport and the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield.

At the last Scottish Trades Union Congress conference GMB Scotland told the STUC that the labour movement was in no position to play “fast and loose” with the jobs of defence sector workers at Faslane, Coulport and Rosyth.

The GMB union moved Motion 113 in support of the Trident successor programme which will provide for thousands of highly skilled manufacturing and maintenance jobs across the Scottish economy – a point that needs to be made in the resistance to the call for another referendum on Scottish separation. Disgracefully, the GMB’s call for support for some of Britain’s most highly skilled workers fell.

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