The shipbuilding heritage of the Clyde could remain but at the loss of Fairfield, Govan as a shipbuilding yard.
That was part of the message today from Charlie Blakemore, Director of Transformation at BAE Systems which operates yards at Govan and Scotstoun.
The company is currently exploring two options:
1 – to continue to build warships at both yards which are across the river from each other, with improvements to do so costing £100 million.
2 – transform Scotstoun yard into a world class, covered, single site, shipbuilding centre at a cost of £200 million.
Clearly favouring the Scotstoun option, Charlie Blakemore said: ‘Both sites badly need investment. We lease Govan from Clyde Port Authority but we own Scotstoun and it has the footprint to create an acceptable and safe working environment.’
He also emphasised that with option 1, partly built ships would have to be ferried from one yard to the other costing more and adding about one third to the time of any project. But two vessels could be under construction simultaneously at a new Scotstoun.
Showing a video prospectus for future workers at BAE Systems – as expressed by present workers – Mr Blakemore said: ‘ This is a really exciting time for us. This journey started two or three years ago and we want it to take us to into world class capability.’
The video illustrated how improved working conditions and procedures – such as video conferencing, creche provision, modern offices and visualisation of the ship on the stocks – improved the employee’s working conditions. He said: ‘No one was press ganged into saying what they said.’ He added: ‘We have got to make the Type 26 frigates affordable.’
Right now BAE Systems is working on the design of Type 26 ‘global combat ships.’ A four year assessment phase stared in March 2010, is ‘making excellent progress,’ said a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson. ’A main investment decision is expected to be made by the middle of the decade (around 2015) when the number of vessels will be decided. It is assumed that around 13 will be needed for service in the 2020s to replace the current Type 23 frigates.’
Last year BAE Systems announced it would close its shipbuilding facilities in Portsmouth to concentrate its production on the Clyde. Apart from the loss of more than 800 jobs in Portsmouth and its heritage of hundreds of years of shipbuilding, there will be the loss of around 800 jobs in Glasgow’s BAE yards as current work is signed off.
However, Mr Blakemore pointed out that 1000 workers will still be employed in the two Clyde yards until the MoD decision is made. ‘The shipbuilding heritage of the Clyde is one of the core strengths of this business,’ he said. ‘Govan workers and skills could still be employed at Scotstoun and people can still be proud of Clydebuilt and all it stands for.’
Local MSP Nicola Sturgeon welcomed BAE’s commitment to the Clyde and investment in Scotstoun, but expressed concern about the threat to Govan. She said: ‘As a Glasgow MSP who used to represent Govan shipyard, I very much hope that a two yard option can be the way forward.’ But she used the issue to take a swipe at Referendum ‘No’ Campaigners: ‘The No camp said a Yes vote threatened Govan, but the fact is that a plan for Govan yard’s closure is happening now – on Westminster’s watch.’
As the 835 jobs loss at BAE Systems in Govan, Scotstoun, Rosyth and Filton in South Gloucestershire begin to register, the Scottish Government has stepped in with support for re-training.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, with Finance Secretary John Swinney, met BAE Systems management today to offer help. She said: ‘The Scottish Government has well-established arrangements to access training to those affected by redundancy. We want to send out a strong message about what is there and both management and unions are receptive to that.’
A meeting next week between BAE Systems and the unions will work on the fine detail of which jobs will go, progressively, through till 2016. ‘When we know that detail we will know how our Government support can be best targeted,’ said MSP Sturgeon.
The announcement this week of major restructuring of the naval sector of BAE Systems plc was not unexpected but will have a dramatic effect around the country and has sparked a political row.
A total of 1775 jobs will be lost including 940 next year in Portsmouth where a 500 years tradition of shipbuilding will cease. Work which would have been carried out there on elements of the second Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier will be done in Glasgow.
The cost of the restructuring will be borne by the Ministry of Defence and follows the tapering of work towards completion of the aircraft carrier programme, the six Type 45 destroyers and two export contracts.
BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence have agreed that Glasgow would be the most effective location for the manufacture of future Type 26 ships. The company proposes to consolidate its shipbuilding operations in the city with investment to create a world –class capability. Meantime, three new ocean-going offshore patrol vessels will be built in the Glasgow yards for the Royal Navy to bridge the gap.
Glasgow South West MP Ian Davidson said when the restructuring was first announced, said: ‘This has been an excellent day for shipbuilding and industry on the Clyde, tempered only by the inevitable job losses and the lack of binding commitments to the Type 26 until after the referendum is settled. Access to all this future Royal Navy work would not have been possible were Scotland not within the United Kingdom. It is inconceivable that work would have been transferred from Portsmouth to Glasgow were Scotland a separate country.’
Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, said that the UK would find it ‘difficult’ to award the contracts for the new Type 26 frigates to Scottish yards if there was a ‘yes’ vote in the Referendum in September 2014.
Westminster SNP group Leader, MP Angus Robertson responded by saying it was ‘quite absurd’ for the Scottish Secretary to suggest this. ‘It is plain daft for the UK Government minister to say it would be difficult to have ships built in Scotland just because we exercise our democratic right to vote Yes, when the Ministry of Defence has procured vessels from Korea.’
The people of Mansewood and Hillpark are not the only communities facing cuts in bus services. First Glasgow has stated the following five services will be withdrawn:
Route 2 – Toryglen and Croftfoot
Route 25 – Govan and Silverburn
Route 29 – Manswood, Hillpark and Shawlands
Route 91 – Partick and Clydebank
Route 92 – restricted to operate between Partick Bus Station and Gartnavel Hospital only.
But Glasgow City Council has been told of others to be withdrawn:
Route 11 – Bearsden Road/Switchback – diverted from Glasgow Road, Clydebank to Barns Street/East Barns Street.
Route 42 – Drumchapel and City Centre via Garscadden, Scotstoun, Partick and Charing Cross – evening operation to be withdrawn.
Route 119 – Baljaffray and Castlemains Estate
Route 213A – Bargeddie to Buchanan Bus Station via Baillieston, Edinburgh Road, Cranhill and Alexandra Parade – Sunday day service to be withdrawn.
In addition, many established routes will have major timetable changes.
Glasgow launches into a great new era with the Transport Museum and a river ferry to get to its door. The proud claim that ‘Glasgow made the Clyde and the Clyde made Glasgow’ was true early last century. So far in this 21st century, the River Clyde is dead of any meaningful, daily, traffic around the city. Perhaps the ferry fielding small numbers of people from Govan’s Water Row to the exciting Riverside Transport Museum will be the start of a renaissance of river craft plying the water. Certainly a one-day Regatta (organised from Bristol!) will brighten things for the day on Saturday 16 July for those who chance to find out about it.
With the Glenlee so majestically moored at the entrance to the Riverside Museum, it is a fitting location for such a fascinating ikon which sheds light on even earlier maritime exploits. But where are the visual references to the world class war ships which are now reaching the end of their production cycle at Govan and Scotstoun yards? Will the Riverside Museum transport us into a new age when water craft will ease the congestion on roads and the damage to the planet of the infernal combusion engine? We’ll find out as the tide ebbs and flows.
‘It’s good to see politics is alive and can generate a good stooshie,’ commented Dr Katherine Trebeck of Oxfam after the Sunny Govan Radio’s hustings on Tuesday 26 April. Oxfam is a supporter of the 24 hour radio station which beams out across the whole of Glasgow and beyond.
Held in Kinning Park Church and chaired by media director Martin Paterson of Paterson Communications, the Southside Constituency contenders of Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Stephen Curran (Labour), Kenneth Elder (Lib Dem) and David Meikle (Conservative) had a sparky interchange and the audience took no prisoners either!
The biggest audience applause was during the question on the future of shipbuilding in Govan and Scotstoun when the questioner – Iain McInnes a community campaigner said: ‘We should be building ships for peace not war. Ferries for around the coast and sea-going structures for renewables is what we should be building.’
Nicola Sturgeon said she was proud of the local shipbuilders in what was her constituency before recent boundary changes.. ‘We should be 100% behind Govan and Scotstoun yards,’ she said. ‘Anyone who suggests they only got the work because they are a part of the UK, is doing them a great dis-service. It is because of their skills and their willingness to change and be flexible that they got the orders.’
David Meikle in making a point that the companies should be securing new contracts in new markets as defence cuts took effect, was rounded on by Nicola who said it was ‘Tory cheek’ to suggest that, when Conservatives had been responsible for massive cutting of defence jobs.
Stephen Curran wanted to see the River Clyde better used. ‘It has great potential. The only reason Govan yard is still open is because we are part of the UK. In an independent Scotland, shipbuilding would disappear. It is absurd for the SNP to suggest otherwise.’
Lib Dem candidate Kenneth Elder said technology and future generations had to be considered. ‘We should be thinking of extending the industry not neglecting the River Clyde. There are not enough craft on the river which is a common good asset. We need a longer vision for the Clyde,’ he added.
Audience concerns covered – travel expenses for job seekers attending interviews in the city; regeneration and the plight of pensioners in flats who want Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to renovate their lifts, not install new ones. On that issue, the panel was unanimous that GHA had to listen to what the pensioners wanted. ‘I’ll be on the phone to GHA in the morning,’ said Nicola.
When the effect of cuts at the St Mungo centre for disabled people was aired, Stephen said: ‘People don’t listen enough or trust enough. We are all in this together and we need to learn to trust each other.’
The spectre of people trafficking increasing during the Commonwealth Games was raised. ‘We’ve got to recognise this happens and talk about it,’ commented Kenneth. ‘We can find out what London does for the 2012 Olympics and learn lessons from and co-ordinate with international agencies across Europe.’
In a bit of banter, Nicola said she liked Midge Ure’s music: ‘I supported him in the 1980s so I’m giving my age away!’ Ure’s concert was a free one on the night of the hustings and aimed at young folk. Labour accused the SNP of a serious breach of election laws. Commented David:’ I don’t know who Midge Ure is! I suppose that shows my age!’
Post Office closures, regeneration, mental health, human rights and Go Ape and Pollok Park were all subjects tossed around by the candidates with dexterity.
Heading up Oxfam’s Poverty Programme for Scotland, Dr Trebeck said she was delighted with the evening.
A team of first year media students from Cardonald College filmed the event. ‘We want the experience,’ said Amy Hamlan (18). ‘I’m looking for good shots,’ said Dan Lowrie (26). ‘We’ll be giving Sunny Govan good feedback,’ added Jordan McClymont (22). All aim to be directors or writer directors in tv.
A youth programme which helps reduce anti-social behaviour in the North and West of Glasgow has been hailed as a success by former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson.
The former Scotland International captain was among special guests at the annual awards and dance shows run by A&M Training – a programme which is part funded by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).
Run by ex-Dundee United winger Andy McLaren, the A&M Training scheme tackles youth disorder, racism and gang violence. Founded on his own hard experiences, the scheme encourages youngsters to keep fit through football and dance classes.
Around 2000 youngsters have already signed up for Operation Reclaim in the North of the city and also the West End Diversionary Project.
Birmingham City star Barry Ferguson presented trophies at the Operation Reclaim awards night at the Mitchell Theatre recently.
Barry said: “I’m delighted to support A&M Training which delivers top-quality diversionary coaching activities across Glasgow. Each week around 2000 young people benefit from these services – and they are free.
“I attended the dance and awards show and was blown away by the numbers involved, the talent on show and the quality of the coaching.”
GHA and the Scottish Government fund the West End Diversionary Project, which covers areas including Drumchapel, Yoker, Scotstoun and Anderston. Operation Reclaim is funded by GHA and North Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and runs in areas including Sighthill, Springburn, Milton and Royston.
GHA’s Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire, said: “Projects such as Operation Reclaim and the West End Diversionary Project are making a real difference to young people in the North and West of the city.
Former Scotland footballers Robbie Winters, Charlie Miller and Gary McSwegan are also lending their support to programme.
Andy McLaren, founder of A&M Training, said: “We’re the only sports coaching charity in Scotland providing free coaching services delivered by professional footballers and dancers.
“The programme has had a tremendous benefit in reducing youth crime and disorder and improving the health and well-being of large numbers of young people.”
Gold medal-winning Olympian David Hemery visited Glasgow recently to give a masterclass to some of Glasgow’s aspiring sprinters, 400 metre hurdlers and coaches at Scotstoun Stadium.
David, 64, is one of Great Britain’s greatest hurdlers and a vocal supporter of athletics. Aged 24, he won a gold medal in the 400 metre hurdles event at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, shattering a world record.
He also holds gold medals from the 1966 and 1970 Commonwealth Games and enjoyed bronze and silver successes in the Munich Olympics of 1972.
David’s visit followed a seminar at Pitreavie Athletics Centre in Fife last year, when Glasgow athletes heard him speak on ‘how you recommend coaches work now and how you engage the enhanced self-awareness and self responsibility of the athletes’.
David said: ‘You’ll get far more from athletes when they learn from their own experience as well as from the coach. It’s a partnership.
‘It’s important they’re not utterly coach dependent because when they get into the heat of competition they have to be independent. So, if you can help them generate that level of self-awareness you’re helping to grow them and they engage their minds and focus and grow as people.’
David has a warning for parents, teacher and young people after years of observing athletics.
‘Sport is sliding off young people’s agenda,’ he said. ‘That, I think, is a great shame. Now I hear that physical education is sliding off the primary school agenda. I think there needs to be a balance, especially with young people.
‘Athletics is a basic run-jump-throw environment and I’d like to see that, and perhaps the ability to swim, in every school so the youngster can choose different activities.
‘It doesn’t have to be traditional sport, it can be mountain biking, dance, it doesn’t matter what it is but as long as it’s something they have a passion for and can work on to achieve their fitness level.
‘The cost to the country is going to be huge if children never get fit.’
He has a simple philosophy in spotting hurdling talent. ‘Some people enjoy jumping over things. It’s more fun than running in a straight line- but again, it’s important people try things.’
David added: ‘I was lucky that I had two coaches who really cared about me. If we could encourage coaches in this era to be on the children’s agenda as much as they are on their own agenda, that is something I would love to see.
‘We have to ask children what they enjoy doing more of and give them a spectrum of things to try.’
Thankfully, the green shoots of hope are appearing, not only in parks and gardens, but in local communities. It is amazing that one tenacious group at the Heart of Scotstoun has succeeded in their objective to build their own community centre. Cutting the first sod to start the building work was a major celebration. In contrast, almost a dozen community centres around the city have just been closed because of the cuts. Where there are strong enough groups willing to take on the running of the venues themselves, those establishments could remain in community use. But it means that neighbourhood activists will have to shoulder the responsibility of running their own show to a degree not experienced in recent times. Where there are partnership opportunities – such as in Dennistoun where the school’s theatre has been transformed into a community resource – there is also hope.
But it takes someone of the grit and determination of Lyn Ewing of Govanhill Housing Association to lead major campaigns. At 80 she’s hung up her fighting hat to get the wherewithal from Government to enable the Association to wipe out slums in their area (This is the 21st century and we still have 19th century slums!!!) But she’s not going to rest on her laurels. She’s going to take up Open University studies where she had to leave them when she started fighting for decent housing. That kind of righteous anger moves Governments – and mountains – and is needed today to get communities confident in running their own show.
Heart of Scotstoun community group are building their own community centre while others in the city are closing.
More than 600 people attended a family fun day at the Balmoral Street site to witness the cutting of the first sod – the ceremonial digging into the ground by a JCB to start the building works.
It has taken the Heart of Scotstoun group 12 years to get to this stage.
Among the many VIPs attending were local champions Jean Donnachie and Noreen Real who were made Scotswomen of the Year for their campaign to stop dawn raids after they saw asylum seeking neighbours carried away.
Said Jean: ‘The Heart of Scotstoun has been pushing for a community place for so long now that the start of building is a real cause for celebration. I hope it inspires even more local people to come on board and get active in managing the centre.’
John Robertson MP, Pauline McNeill MSP, Councillors Jean McFadden and Graeme Hendry all played a part and offered their congratulations to the people who comprise the Heart of Scotstoun.
While that exciting event was taking place, other established community centres around the city were being closed because of funding cuts experienced by the City Council.
At Lorne Street centre in Kinning Park, community activists were locked out when they went to collect Community Council computers and other items.
Said Nicola Burton Secretary of Kinning Park Community Council: ‘I was very surprised and shocked to find the place locked up. We are in negotiation with the Council to get funding to run it.’
Across Glasgow, 41 community facilities were reviewed by the Council. Some were underused and others needed £6m worth of repairs. The Council decided to close 11 places. But local communities and groups were given the opportunity to submit fully-costed business plans to run them. Letters with a temporary licence to occupy, were issued to Overnewton, Ledgowan and Cadder community facilities on the basis that they have an organisation in place to take over the halls and all associated costs or have progressed significantly with their business plan.
Clyde shipbuilding could be a beneficiary of BAE’s four-year, £127m contract from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to develop a new generation of warships for the Royal Navy.
The Type 26 frigate line would replace the Type 22 and Type 23 vessels. While the contract team will be based at Bristol in Avon, BAE yards including those on the Clyde and at Portsmouth could be in line to build the ships when construction begins in earnest.
While the development contract will go ahead, the Type 26 series of warships will face the hurdle of a defence spending review.
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth told Parliament: ‘It is our duty to provide key equipment that will ensure the UK is properly prepared to meet its own defence needs in an ever changing world, and continue to play an important role in maintaining global security.
‘Programmes like the Type 26 not only ensure the Royal Navy continues to have cutting edge capability but also sustains the industry that supports them. The commitments the MoD has made will protect skills and employment, and preserve the industrial capability needed to carry out future programmes efficiently, in a way that represents value for money.’
The contract team consists of 80 people and that will rise to around 300 over the life of the contract. The four years of work and the team’s findings will also reflect the findings of the government’s defence spending review.
BAE at Govan and Scotstoun is nearing the end of its programme to build a fleet of Type-45 destroyers. Work is also proceeding at Govan on the build for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which should enter service between 2016 and 2018.