Mixed week for manufacturing

26th October 2015

Mixed week for manufacturing

Last week was one of mixed fortunes for manufacturing in Inverclyde. On a very positive note the new £97m ferry contract was officially confirmed for Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow. This is testament to the skills and efforts of the workforce.

Unfortunately on the very same day there was further evidence that the crisis in the oil and gas sector continues to bite as James Walker Devol announced that it intends to make nineteen of its employees redundant.

I have discussed the situation with the Union representing the workers  and I have also contacted the Scottish Government to see what can be done to avert any of the redundancies. It’s vital that we do all we can to protect the jobs at the plant and support its employees.

The announcement from James Walker Devol also came in a week in which TATA Steel confirmed plans to end steel making in Scotland. This recent bout of job losses underlines why it is so important that we have a comprehensive manufacturing strategy in place for Scotland.

We need a strategy that sees manufacturing companies through the tough economic times and which retains and builds on the skills of the workforce.

Any strategy must also utilise key infrastructure sites in Scotland such as Inchgreen drydock. This is a national asset that has real potential to be a key manufacturing hub, something which leading entrepreneur Jim McColl has recognised. That’s why this week I have arranged a meeting with local political leaders and the owners of the dock Peel Ports, to see how we can fulfil our ambition for the site.

I hope that by acting together we can secure a major project for the dock and use this as a stepping stone to bring manufacturing back to the Lower Clyde on a permanent basis.