Cammell Laird issues EU worker statement
Cammell Laird statement on “Sun” newspaper article 20 November 2017.
Cammell Laird is issuing this statement to correct the inaccurate and misleading report in today’s Sun newspaper. The company considers the report’s tone and the prejudicial content to be extremely worrying and disappointing. It is important that all understand that the company does not tolerate or support any form of prejudice.
We understand that investigative journalists were deployed to Merseyside last week and spoke to the operators of the local mobile food stations, and other businesses around the yard entrances. They were informed by the journalists that they wanted to sell a story about foreign nationals employed within the Cammell Laird business. We understand that the various individuals asked to comment were very supportive of the company and would not participate in inflammatory rhetoric. They were told that the story would be sold to a local or a national newspaper. Equally disappointing is the fact that the company executives were only contacted late yesterday (Sunday) to provide its factual response (statement attached), to a report that was going to be published the following day. We believe the objective and strategy was to enable them to advise that “no one from the company was available for comment.” The fact that the company executive did respond, and the company statement was not used as an informed response in the newspaper, the consequence is that the company is now considering an official complaint to Independent Press Standards Organisation.
The Sun’s print edition report has used just one sentence from the company’s statement and this has been included out of context. The newspaper article fails to report the £500million investment Cammell Laird has made to the Merseyside economy in the last ten years, and the 1300 people currently employed from our local communities.
The Sun’s report, is entirely based on an ‘unnamed source’ from ‘one worker who allegedly suggests that British workers are not hired because foreign labour is cheaper. Cammell Laird clearly advised the Sun that foreign nationals within the workforce are not cheaper to employ, and they are not undercutting UK workers, as the cost of employment is equivalent to our British workforce.
Cammell Laird has advertised for engineering vacancies across local and national industry media and continues to recruit locally and nationally on a weekly basis. Having exhausted the requisite specialist engineering skills available to us in the UK, we have recruited over 300 highly skilled European engineers from a UK employment agency to support the workforce across multiple contracts. It is disappointing that all the positives associated with the company’s success in winning the largest commercial shipbuilding contract competed in the International shipbuilding market to have been brought to Merseyside and the UK in over decade is portrayed in this negative way by the Sun newspaper. If additional external resources are not available, the real negative story would be that we would not be able to tender for the multiple projects constantly being undertaken at the yard and over a thousand local jobs would be at risk. The day that we can’t meet contractual requirements means that we cannot either partake in a contract tender, or that we are not included in competitions due to potentially failing to deliver on previous contracts that we have won. Both scenarios are not options for the company, our objective is to achieve continuous growth and development, which can only be achieved by winning work competitively and delivering the contracts on the due date.
The report states that fewer than five welders and platers have been hired from the community and 80pc of the workers on the Sir David Attenborough are foreign. These points are wrong. Since the outset of the project, Cammell Laird has in fact recruited nearly 250 local people, and its supply chain have recruited over 50 more. The Sir David Attenborough contract is also allowing Cammell Laird and its local supply chain to promote its quality and efficiency in an international commercial market. Our workforce now stands at more than 1300 local people employed directly and through our supply chain on the Sir David Attenborough and other contracts within the yard. Our objective is to have a self-generating business and our training investment program has enabled Cammell Laird to run one of the biggest apprentice programmes in the region, with nearly 70 apprentices currently in training all of whom are gaining experience working on the Sir David Attenborough Polar Research vessel. These are skills for life.
The Sun report further states ‘another 200 Romanians will build Type 31 frigates at Cammell Laird from January 2018’. Cammell Laird confirms again this is totally inaccurate, the contract to build Type 31 frigates is not yet placed. If Cammell Laird win the tender, construction work will not begin until 2019. The company is very optimistic about the future and is currently considering plans to scale up its apprentice training program. If our business plan is successful , 1000 new apprentices need to be trained for the business and industry.
Finally, Cammell Laird further strongly objects to the tone of the report questioning the value of foreign workers, and that employment of highly skilled EU nationals being referred to as a “scandal”. This definition is disappointing and inappropriate in the circumstances. In our statement to the Sun the company said: “We value these workers enormously and the terrific job they do. We treat all workers equally and we have no prejudice of any kind in our business. It also must be remembered that when our industry collapsed, many workers from our yard travelled throughout Europe to find employment.” No door was ever closed on the UK workforce.
The above point outlines the culture and ethics of our stakeholders.
We have grown our business and earned international Brand recognition again. We are committed to further growth and development and contributing to the UK prosperity agenda. This will only ever be achieved if we are competitive and deliver our contracts on the day. We are playing our part in closing a generation of lost skills in our sector, winning future work will speed the process.
A copy of the full Cammell Laird statement to the Sun is below:
The facts are that Cammell Laird has employed all of the people currently available to us locally and nationally with the requisite engineering skills we require for the complex projects we are undertaking. The company is proud to be driving the business forward again, and Cammell Laird has re emerged to become an iconic brand and internationally recognised for our high quality skills and for delivering our contractual obligations.
Cammell Laird is dedicated and totally committed to providing jobs and wealth for our local community and the UK economy. Over the last 10 years we have pumped more than £500million into the Merseyside economy alone. We currently employ more than 1300 local people directly and indirectly on our contracts. In addition, to address the chronic local and national engineering skills shortage, we have invested circa £20 million over the last decade to run one of the biggest apprentice programmes in the region, recruiting around 22 apprentices a year, with more than 200 apprentices having graduated. We have nearly 70 apprentices currently in training with ambitious plans in development to train a further 1000 apprentices to meet our potential order book going forward. We also have an active school and community engagement programme which is making a real difference to our area. It is important to also note that the hundreds of millions we invest in our local supply chain has enabled local businesses, across multiple sectors, to grow through our success driving wider job and wealth creation and innovation on Merseyside.
Cammell Laird has advertised for engineering vacancies across local and industry media extensively this year, and continues to recruit from the local and UK market. After however exhausting the requisite specialist engineering skills available to us in the UK, we have recruited over 300 highly skilled European engineers from a UK employment agency to support our core workforce across multiple contracts within the yard. We value these workers enormously and the terrific job they do. For clarity these workers are not cheaper to employ and they are not undercutting UK workers, as the cost of employment is equivalent to our core workforce. We treat all workers equally and we have no prejudice of any kind in our business and it must be remembered that when our industry collapsed, many workers from our yard travelled throughout Europe to find employment.