THE UK government has been accused of using a €1 billion Royal Navy contract as a bargaining chip with Spain over Gibraltar.
The GMB Union has reported, via industry sources, that the contract to build fleet supply vessels could go to the Navantia naval yard in northern Spain.
Brexit related negotiations over the future of Gibraltar are being blamed for what MPs have called a ‘stab in the back’ for Scottish workers.
“If the contracts for these ships go abroad, the Government is basically sticking two fingers up to shipbuilding communities and the entire manufacturing industry in the UK. No other government would outsource national security.
“If it is true this deal is being done because of ministers’ abject failure to sort out Brexit then it’s not just negligent, it’s grubby and reeks of self-preservation and putting party politics ahead of people’s livelihoods and communities,” said GMB general secretary Tim Roache.
Five bidders have been competing to build the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships including the Rosyth dockyard in Fife, operated by UK-based company Babcock International.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We are required by law to procure the Fleet Solid Support ships through open international competition. We issued formal tender documents to bidders, including a UK consortium, in late 2018.
“The final decision regarding the winning bid will be made in 2020.”