Titanic shipyard to file for insolvency

07 Août, 2019, 18:48 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Harland and Wolff workers and supporters during a rally to save the shipyard

The shipyard, whose towering yellow cranes dominate the Northern Irish city's skyline, has been occupied by workers fearful for their jobs since last week.

Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries has struggled in recent years because of stiff competition from overseas and after the company's owner Dolphin Drilling filed for bankruptcy in summer of 2018, putting the site up for sale.

He said: "That's why we are pushing for that financial space and that window, ultimately it hasn't happened today but that's not going to stop the efforts to work with the administrators and secure the future we know Harland and Wolff should have".

"We understand there are a possible number of interested parties waiting for administration to kick in", he said.

At the same time Harland and Wolff workers were protesting, the DUP were meeting with Johnson in Belfast to discuss the confidence and supply relationship.

Administrators have been officially appointed to the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

It has diversified away from shipbuilding in the past two decades and until recently had primarily worked on wind energy and marine engineering projects.

"It's a sad day".

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They emerged from a meeting chanting "Save our Shipyard" on Monday before confirming the outcome of the vote.

Already 130 workers from the site at which the Titanic was built have been given redundancy notices.

"It would not be hard today for [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to say he will give this yard a future", Mr McDonnell said. "If you close now you lose the skills, you lose the future".

Susan Fitzgerald, an official at trade union Unite, said she was concerned by media reports that the yard might be sold by administrators without liabilities such as pensions and workers' contracts, adding: "This would be a cynical move created to jettison jobs and workers". The proposal was backed by the Labour Party, but the government has said the crisis is "ultimately a commercial issue".

The drilling rig business of Dolphin Drilling was restructured in late June, allowing those operations to continue under a new holding company incorporated in Jersey.

While administration would put jobs at risk, it would not necessarily lead to the closure of the shipyard, much of whose land is on a long lease from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

The shipyard was famed for constructing the doomed Titanic, which sank on its maiden transatlantic voyage in 1912 after striking an iceberg.

"We have seen empty platitudes from the Government so far, they need to step up to the mark, they really need to take this by the mantle and deliver for this workforce, the Secretary of State hiding behind Europe and the Prime Minister not coming out and delivering for this workforce will have a massive impact and massive ramification for the wider community here in east Belfast, but not only east Belfast, right across Northern Ireland".

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