Portsmouth protests at BAE job cuts
More than 200 people have joined a rally in protest at BAE's announcement that it is to stop shipbuilding in Portsmouth with the loss of 940 jobs.
The event was organised by Portsmouth Trades Council following the news that the company is making a total of 1,775 workers redundant, with 835 going in Glasgow, Rosyth, and Filton, near Bristol.
More details about the job cuts are expected to emerge from talks between BAE and unions early next week.
Portsmouth South independent MP Mike Hancock said: "We have to turn the hope for a change (to the decision) into a reality.
"It is right the local community gives all the support to these workers. They should get behind the campaign for the good of the city and the workforce and to create an environment where the Government has to do more for the people of this city for now and the future."
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "It is a really bad decision, It's very bad for Portsmouth and the surrounding area, very bad for the Navy, very bad for Britain.
"Also we need to put pressure on the Government to make sure, even if this decision stays, more jobs in ship maintenance are brought to Portsmouth so some of the guys who are losing their jobs in shipbuilding can get another job doing ship maintenance.
"I think we can get several hundred people long-term positions doing ship maintenance if we can get assurances from the Government that ships that are going to be based here are maintained in Portsmouth."
Mr Vernon-Jackson added that he felt it was the wrong decision to end shipbuilding in Portsmouth while giving the Clyde yards the contracts to build the new Type 26 warships.
He said: "It is a very wrong decision because of the timing - we do not know if Scotland is going to be independent. For the Government to make a decision that somehow it is OK for the Royal Navy to go and buy their ships from an independent country is not something the Royal Navy has ever done and I think that's a really bad thing for them to be doing."
David Goble, 60, from Southampton, who works at BAE's Portsmouth yard, said: "It is disgusting how we have been treated. I have been working with the company for 45 years and to be taken into a room and told that your job has gone and then go home and hear on the news that they are going to build 16 ships in Scotland while there's nothing down here."
Adam, from Southsea, who did not give his surname, said: "It's ridiculous, it's obviously all political, they aren't thinking about the English workers at all."
Another worker, Steve, who has worked for the company for eight years and has two teenage children to support, said: "Portsmouth hasn't got a lot and this is one of the biggest places in Portsmouth. The city is being run down by the political parties."
Bec Mason, who attended the rally with her family including Joseph, nine, Lizzie and James, both seven, and Dan, five, said: "We think it's really important to show our support. We are proud to live here and support the city and we think it's important the workers in the dockyard are supported."
During the demonstration in Portsmouth's main shopping precinct in Commercial Road, the protesters waved placards and chanted: "Job cuts go away, shipbuilding is here to stay."