Brit trade union claims navy shipbuilding contract could go to Spain due to Gibraltar dispute

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A BRITISH trade union said a Spanish shipyard could be awarded an almost €1.2 billion contract to build supply vessels for the Royal Navy to pacify Madrid over Gibraltar.

The GMB union said working class communities could be ‘sold down the river’ by the British government which they claimed was seeking to pacify Madrid during Brexit negotiations.

Spanish state-backed shipyard Navantia is one of four companies bidding for the Ministry of Defence contract to build to three 40,000-ton Fleet Solid Support vessels for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Scottish shipbuilder Babcock is the only British company bidding for the contract.

Gary Smith, of GMB Scotland, said years of work would be created in British yards if Babcock is awarded the contract.

“Against the backdrop of a ruinous Brexit, the loss of the RFAs would be an absolute betrayal of the British shipbuilding sector by the Tory Government,” Smith said.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said they were required by law to put the contract out to international bidding.

“We issued formal tender documents to bidders in late 2018. The final decision regarding the winning bid will be made in 2020,” the spokesperson said.

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Joe Gerrard

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