Local MSP Jackie Baillie has said that she will continue to stand up for the workforce at Faslane and Coulport and oppose unilateral nuclear disarmament in defiance of a policy position taken by Scottish Labour at its conference on Sunday.
Trade union shop stewards at the base have also issued a statement thanking Jackie Baillie for her support. She made a powerful speech to conference warning delegates of the consequences for thousands of jobs in her constituency if Trident is not renewed next year. Scottish Labour’s delegation from Dumbarton and Helensburgh also voted against scrapping Trident at the conference.
Conference voted for a motion calling for non-renewal of Trident and the establishment of a defence diversification process to find new jobs for workers at the base. However Jackie Baillie blasted the plan and said there was no guarantee that jobs would be saved under diversification.
She also released emails from Len McCluskey, leader of Unite the Union, to local trade union members at Faslane saying that ‘It (diversification) produced nothing and is unlikely to produce anything of any substance in the future’.
The SNP has called a debate on Trident in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday and Jackie has pledged to always use her vote to protect base jobs, even if it means rebelling against her own party on the issue.
“I am disappointed with the decision taken at Scottish Labour conference. I argued strongly in support of the base and the thousands of jobs it provides for local people, as I have always done, and I will not be changing my position.
“I will put my constituents ahead of my party, and reality ahead of rhetoric. Local communities and the workers at Faslane need jobs not gestures and they will continue to have my full support. I am prepared to vote against both the SNP and Scottish Labour positions in the Scottish Parliament if that is what it takes to support my constituents. The UK Labour Party remains opposed to unilateral disarmament and I am confident that Trident renewal will be supported by a majority of MPs in the House of Commons next year.”
A statement released by the Babcock Marine Clyde industrial shop stewards committee at Faslane and Coulport praised Jackie for standing alongside local defence workers:
“We note and appreciate the contributions to the debate by Gary Smith of the GMB and Jackie Baillie MSP. We look forward to working with both in the future in sustaining employment at Faslane and Coulport and protecting members jobs, families and communities