Very welcome news that the 291 planned redundancies for Cammell Laird workers have been rescinded just before Christmas.
However the fact that a ‘task force’ has been set up by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to save shipyard jobs raises yet more questions about the role of Birkenhead MP Frank Field and his failure to publicly support the recent strike action. It is interesting to note that also on the ‘task force’ is Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. We understand Pip even made an appearance on the picket line although it was in the aftermath of high profile political and public support for strikers.
We have to say as an observer of local politics and local media that recent events have been a PR disaster for Cammell Laird’s current management and particularly CEO John Syvret who had to publicly apologise for claiming that strikers were “pandering to negative stereotypes of Merseyside” . But then Syvret was given the platform to make such claims in the local media without initially any discussion of why strike action was considered to be necessary by unions. This was not just about redundancies but about the ongoing spectre of ‘casualisation’ which is something that the local media seems to have belatedly acknowledged in the wake of widespread public and political support.
There may have been a Christmas truce declared in this particular battle but the war against employment practices which undermine workers rights continues…
Shortly after we published our Frank Field’s Casual Approach to Casualisation story Wirral Globe inevitably and belatedly waded in with two stories providing the approved narrative that : a) Cammell Laid CEO John Syvret is claiming that strike action is jeopardising future contracts and employment prospects and that b) Frank Field is working relentlessly behind the scenes to safeguard jobs. Unfortunately neither article addresses frigate in the dry dock and discuss what the strike action is actually all about. Casualisation is obviously the new ‘C’ word !
Sadly for those wanting to show solidarity with striking Cammell Laird’s workers – especially those who received their redundancy notices this week – and find out exactly why they are picketing the shipyard will be unable to do so as today’s planned gathering has been postponed. We’ll keep you posted about future developments:
SPOILER ALERT for those attending tonight’s Wirral South Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting
We have received a copy of an Emergency Motion about Cammell Laird shipyard which we fully endorse and would like to share especially as we are currently joining the dots on a current investigation involving the shipyard.
You’d think that the “Turning the tide on Casualisation” campaign would be right up neighbouring MP Frank Field’s street wouldn’t you? And indeed as part of Field’s relentless media presence he has obviously made sure that Cammell Laird gets a mention. A recent press release can be found on his blog here
Birkenhead’s MP Frank Field is battling to safeguard jobs at Cammell Laird by supporting the yard’s bids for two major shipbuilding orders – one from the Ministry of Defence and the other from Merseytravel…
Frank comments: ‘In the shipbuilding industry, the sure-fire way of being able to safeguard jobs is to keep bidding for and winning major orders. Cammell Laird is a world leader in shipbuilding and I am determined to ensure it has a fighting chance of securing these two orders. The yard’s longstanding technical credibility and expertise, as well as its unique capabilities of driving innovation and upskilling the workforce, go hand in hand with its vital role in supporting small and medium sized businesses across our region.’
However whilst securing shipbuilding orders are indeed one way of securing jobs at Cammell Laird you will note that the main thrust of the Unions campaign is the possible use of non-Unionised(?), cheaper labour accessed via an agency thereby undermining local workers rights ,pay and conditions and the potential cause of future redundancies. Once again you would think this would be meat and potatoes for Field. We’d certainly expect him to be raising questions about who’s behind this mysterious agency – we certainly have and the information we’ve has opened up some interesting lines of enquiry.
Perhaps it could be both impolitic and impolite for Field to mention such matters when Cammell Laird is a major contributor (along with Wirral Council taxpayers) to Frank Field’s pet project ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ ?
Meanwhile we encourage our readers to support this campaign and sign the petition: