Munitions unions up in arms

The future of the Bishopton munitions plant in Glasgow, which employs up to 500 workers, still hangs in the balance despite evidence which appears to undermine the closure case. Jack Dromey, TGWU National Secretary, this week claimed that defence ministers ignored their own expert advisers in excluding the plant from a £100m propellant contract. Loss […]

The future of the Bishopton munitions plant in Glasgow, which employs up to 500 workers, still hangs in the balance despite evidence which appears to undermine the closure case.

Jack Dromey, TGWU National Secretary, this week claimed that defence ministers ignored their own expert advisers in excluding the plant from a £100m propellant contract. Loss of the contract, which went to a South African rival Somchem, led British Aerospace to announce the closure of the Royal Ordnance plant

Bishopton makes the propellant for all of the British Army’s tank and artillery ammunition, naval guns and missiles. But owner BAe claims that it can source cheaper munitionsabroad.

According to Dromey, the Defence Scientific Advisory Council, which provides expert advice on defence, urgedministers to consult Royal Ordnance about investment at Bishopton. The report also said that maintaining propellant capacity in the UK was essential.

The MoD is showing no sign of changing the closure decision. ‘Advice from the Defence Council enabled the MoD to reach its decision,’ it said. The MoD has also dismissed reports that a £8m rescue package could be viable.