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Thursday, October 23, 2003

The occupation of Appledore Shipbuilders continues 

Trade Union representatives at Appledore are hopeful of an impending announcement of a new owner. Discussions with the Receivers (Tenon Recovery) are currently taking place with the interested parties.
The security and custodianship of the yard remain with the work force. On-site facilities now include Shop Stewards office, Welfare/Benefits office, and full access for ex employees to attend an on-site programme centre along with advice and debt surgeries.
Donations are arriving at the yard from varying quarters. These monies are being accounted and distributed to the workers who find themselves in severe hardship brought about by 15 weeks of short time working and the failure of the Company to meet their last week’s wages.
Pension contributions were collected from the employees for the month of September but were not paid over by the outgoing Company. Because the Company went into receivership no week-in-hand’s money nor outstanding holiday pay or any redundancy or in lieu of notice payments have been forwarded.
The employees have been told to expect up to a 3 month wait to receive the basic state package. Many employees have been engaged in shipbuilding at Appledore for over 40 years, never once having needed the state benefit system. They now face many months of hardship with only £ 54.56 job seekers allowance to try to manage on.
Even if a new owner is identified in the very near future with the very nature and long lead-in time to any new build programme the vast majority of the work force will be unemployed certainly for the foreseeable coming months. Any donations to the hardship fund should be made payable to APPLEDORE SHIPBUILDERS WELFARE CLUB and can be sent to The Shop Stewards Office, c/o Appledore Shipbuilders, APPLEDORE, N. Devon, EX39 1LX.

Monday, October 06, 2003

The struggle to save Appledore Shipbuilders is ongoing 

In order to allow the workforce to access benefits and statutory redundancy money it was necessary to allow the Receivers in. Today the Yard is advertised for sale in the Financial Times and, according to the press, there are six potential bidders. To all intents and purposes the workforce are still in control of the Yard. A one-stop shop has been established in the Yard by the Trades Unions to assist members with form-filling etc. Hundreds of pounds have been arriving and money is crucial as most of the former workers will not get any income for several weeks.
Tragically, the apprentices at Appledore have also been dismissed. However, AMICUS and GMB are trying to raise finances to allow the young people to complete their training. Today the apprentices have returned for work even though they are not being paid and they are being taught by some of the former workforce who likewise are getting no money.
The need for donations to the Appledore Shipbuilders Welfare Club has never been more important

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Current Situation 

GMB
PRESS RELEASE
01 October 2003

Over 550 workers employed at Appledore Shipbuilders have been sacked and Receivers have been called into the troubled Shipyard.
Trades Unions have reached an agreement with the Receivers which will leave the Shop Stewards Committee effectively in charge of the site.
Trade Union facilities will carry on as normal providing welfare and support for members.
The future of 32 apprentices looks extremely uncertain due to benefit rules on apprenticeships.
The money for their training could dry up if they sign on. The tutor who teaches the apprentices has also been dismissed.
The Union is desperately seeking support to allow the apprentices to complete their training. The Receivers have been called in to begin negotiations with potential buyers and the former employees could receive statutory redundancy payments only. The reality is that it will take weeks before benefits and redundancy payments come through. Former employees have been on short-time working for over three months and are desperately short of money.

Colin Pettifer, AMICUS Full-Time Officer, said:
“The workforce has been on severely reduced earnings for over three months and now they have no income at all. It is a catastrophe for the individuals concerned. We need money to make welfare payments to those who have been tragically affected.”

Gary Smith, GMB Senior Organiser, said:
“Ironically, since the Receivers came in we have had more information about the problems that face the Yard and the challenges as they go forward. We are now in negotiations with Receivers and are trying to maintain communication through the Shop Stewards’ structure and trying to make welfare payments. We urgently need cash to support our work and are calling on the local community and wider Trade Union movement to send donations to the Appledore Shipbuilders Welfare Club.”

Contact: Gary Smith GMB 07710 618909

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