Councillor ‘deeply concerned’ women will get preferential treatment for freeport opportunities

A Falkirk councillor is “deeply concerned” that women will be given preferential treatment in regards to training opportunities linked to the new Forth Green Freeport.

Conservative councillor James Bundy said it was “not equality” and “men who have worked hard and earned their qualifications should not be discriminated against”.

Yes, Mr Bundy, it should all be about skills not gender diversity and as a sector, we need to identify the underlying frictions that prevent wages from reflecting skills shortages and thus closing any skills or diversity gap?

The Forth freeport will be based around renewables manufacturing, alternative fuels, carbon capture and shipbuilding, as well as a new creative hub.

It will benefit from tax reliefs and other incentives using powers at both the Holyrood and Westminster levels in an effort to stimulate economic growth.

The Forth project includes the ports at Grangemouth, Rosyth and Leith, as well as Edinburgh Airport and a site at Burntisland.

It is expected to attract up to £6bn of investment and create 50,000 jobs – including 20,000 from operations in Grangemouth.

Mr Bundy welcomed the opportunities provided by the freeport but aired his concerns.

Reading out a statement, he told the meeting: “The creation of opportunities for skills and developments and local employment should be open to everyone.

“Therefore, I am deeply concerned that in section eight of the report, the equalities section, it says, and I quote, ‘access to funding for skills bursaries will be prioritised for women through preferential scoring in applications’.

“This is not equality. It’s another speech, but true equality is to make changes in our education system that gives everyone, man or woman, an equal opportunity to participate in STEM subjects. It is not to give women preference in access to funding for skills bursaries.

“Men who have worked hard and earned their qualifications should not be discriminated against. The best person for the job, for the training, should be offered the job or the training.”

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Harland & Wolff Cuts Jobs at Methil after Offshore Wind Contract Termination

Harland & Wolff has said that it would “rationalize” the number of people working at its Methil facility in Scotland.

This was in response to the contract termination settlement with Saipem over the building of jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm project in the outer Firth of Forth in Scotland.

Harland & Wolff had, in April 2021, won a contract with Saipem to build and load out eight offshore wind turbine generator (WTG) jacket foundations at it’s Methil facility.

However, Harland & Wolff said in September 2022 that the project – which had a 12-month completion period – had encountered delays due to a number of client materials arriving late and being defective in nature, rendering them incapable of being used.

In a statement issued on February 17, 2023, Harland & Wolff said it had successfully completed the negotiations with Saipem, with the contract value finalized at £16m, “representing approximately 70% of the contract value as per the deed of variation signed in September 2022 as part of descoping from eight jackets to four.”

“The entire amount has now been paid in full and final settlement of the contract [has been reached],” H&W said.

Following the completion of the settlement with Saipem, H&W said that it would “undertake a process of rationalizing the Methil facility’s workforce to approximately 115 core personnel.” It did not say how many people would be laid off. Back when the Saipem contract was first signed, Saipem said the deal would “create around 290 direct and indirect Scottish jobs.”

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P&O Ferries sacks all 800 crew members across entire fleet

The leading UK ferry operator P&O Ferries has sacked its crew across its entire fleet after stopping all its sailings.

Unions called it a “scandalous betrayal”, and said about 800 jobs at all grades had been axed with no notice, with P&O planning to use cheap agency staff to operate its ships.

The operator, owned by the Dubai-based DP World, earlier told crew to return to port and await a “major announcement” in a sudden move likely to cause serious disruption to travel for passengers and freight.

Unions predicted a potential standoff could develop, having instructed crew not to leave vessels, while coaches of replacement crew and security staff are already in place at Dover and Hull.

Just by way of a reminder, P&O Ferries took £4,394,000 in government subsidies during the height of the pandemic to keep those routes afloat.

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DE&S secure multi-million upgrade for Type 45 destroyers

The Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers will receive a £500-million upgrade to enhance their firepower capability under contracts placed by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S)

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National Maritime unveils exciting plans for Maritime and Sustainable Technology hub in key port town of Newhaven, Sussex

Blue Space at the Marine Workshops is the redevelopment of a stunning heritage site into a Maritime and Sustainable Technology hub in Newhaven and is set to reinvigorate the area’s industry and bring huge opportunities for jobs, training, and investment into the area.

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