Belfast City Council is set to meet today to discuss the ongoing crisis at Harland and Wolff shipyard.
Councillors from the Green Party and SDLP have secured the emergency meeting in a bid to keep the under-threat shipyard open.
It comes as staff continue their protest amid fears over the 130 jobs at the manufacturer. A buyer has not yet been found for the plant after its Norwegian owners put it up for sale.
The councillors have tabled a motion which would see an urgent forum convened between trade unions, Invest NI, the Department for the Economy and the UK Government to secure the shipyard’s future. The agencies will unite to show solidarity with Harland and Wolff staff and make moves to protect the skills base.
East Belfast councillor for the Green Party, Anthony Quinn, echoed calls for Westminster intervention. He said: “We need to see the UK Government committing money and committing jobs to the city of Belfast, we have the skills, we have the infrastructure.”
SDLP councillor Brian Heading added: “Harland and Wolff is one of Belfast’s iconic landmarks. Aside from its critical role as a local employer within the manufacturing sector, it is a recognisable symbol to the world that Belfast is open for business. We cannot let it go without a fight.
“I want to pay tribute to the workers who have waged a fierce campaign to save their yard and to their union representatives who have taken the fight to the very top of the political agenda.
“The shipyard is a remarkable story of diversification. From a mighty history as a premiere location for an old industry, it is now at the cutting edge of green technology and innovation as the site of assembly for huge wind turbines. That story can’t be lost.”
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