The future of the Harland & Wolff shipyard is not just about the 130 jobs currently at risk. It is about how the the economy of Northern Ireland is organised and the absolute necessity for a centrally planned, publicly owned, strategic approach to local manufacturing and economic development.
The fact that the work force at the Yard has been left with no option but to take matters into their own hands and occupy the premises, is a brutal indictment of the main political parties and their failure to form a functioning Executive.
For over two and a half years we have been without a government. Workers at Harland and Wolff have taken more positive action in one afternoon than Sinn Fein and the DUP have done in over 30 months.
Northern Ireland industry needs development and investment. Our local skills base needs protection and expansion. Only a hands on, government led, industrial strategy can ensure that – secure jobs and develop an indigenous manufacturing base.
Harland & Wolff, and Bombardier Aerospace, needs to be taken back into public ownership. They should be nationalised – to preserve jobs and skills and to secure their future.
The workforce at Harland’s has taken a decisive and progressive step. They deserve our full support and immediate state intervention