Given the seriousness of a recent political decision taken at the Scottish Labour Party Conference I have decided to share with you personally a letter that has been sent by the Scottish Region to all our members in Scotland working in the defence industry.
Please read this letter as this clearly sets out the GMB position on Trident and clearly shows the solidarity that exists in the GMB in supporting Trident renewal and keeping jobs in the UK.
Last week Jim Moohan, GMB Senior Organiser, and myself wrote to you about the forthcoming debate on Trident renewal at the Scottish Labour Party Conference. Our position was clear – GMB will fight for Trident renewal and to defend your job.
In GMB we know that if Trident is not renewed it will have catastrophic consequences for jobs, not just at Coulport and Faslane, but at Rosyth and the Yards in the Upper Clyde too. At the Scottish Labour Party Conference GMB showed we are not ‘Little Scotlanders’ either, our union organises across Britain and in arguing for Trident renewal we stood in solidarity with workers at Rolls Royce Derby, Plymouth Devonport and, of course, Barrow-in-Furness.
It was clear at conference that those arguing against Trident renewal were completely ignorant about the impact on tens of thousands of jobs across Scotland and the rest of Britain. The anti-Trident motion that was passed, which GMB voted against, talks about finding alternative employment for all of you who will be impacted by not renewing Trident. In the view of GMB these were nothing but weasel words. No one could tell us what the alternative jobs would be, much less what pay and pensions they would provide. In effect, we were asked to vote our members out of high-skilled, well-paid unionised work into non-jobs. The GMB will never do this.
A cozy political consensus is emerging around anti-Trident renewal. GMB refuses to be part of this. Difficult as it can be to swim against the tide, your job, the real people we represent and the real communities that depend on us are too important for us to get involved in Alice in Wonderland politics and to engage in discussions about pie in the sky jobs. Those who passed the anti-Trident motion are playing fast and loose with your job. It is extremely dangerous for all workers in the defence section in Scotland when both main political parties are posturing around non-renewal of Trident. History shows that a Tory Government is no friend of Scotland and given half the chance they would no doubt be happy to put work elsewhere and even take it abroad. You should also be aware that the SNP have called an anti-Trident debate in the House of Commons on 24th November.
The anti-Trident supporters may have had success this weekend but this is far from over. In fact, the battle has just started. Over the coming weeks we will be working with your shop stewards and conveners to begin the fight to save our defence jobs in Scotland, and at every factory and yard across the whole of Britain. Be assured, your union, GMB, will fight tooth and nail to protect your job, your family and our communities.
Yours in solidarity
Gary Smith Jim Moohan
Acting Regional Secretary Senior Organiser – Manufacturing Section
GMB Scotland GMB Scotland