Harland and Wolff sold to UK firm, saving it from closure

Shipyard bought by energy infrastructure business InfraStrata

Harland and Wolff workers protesting at the Belfast shipyard regarding the future of the company. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Harland and Wolff workers protesting at the Belfast shipyard regarding the future of the company. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

 

Closure-threatened Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff has been saved.

The business has been bought for £6 million (€6.77m) by InfraStrata, a company that works on energy infrastructure projects.

All workers at the plant who did not take voluntary redundancy when the yard went into administration will now keep their jobs.

John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata, said: “Harland and Wolff is a landmark asset and its reputation as one of the finest multi-purpose fabrication facilities in Europe is testament to its highly skilled team in Belfast.”

Julian Smith, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, welcomed the deal.

“I am delighted by the news that InfraStrata have purchased the Harland and Wolff shipyard and retained the skills and experience of the existing workforce,” he said.

“I firmly believe that the shipyard has a promising future and that InfraStrata’s plans present an exciting opportunity for both Belfast and Northern Ireland’s manufacturing and energy sectors.”

Workers have occupied the site for nine weeks.

Trade unions Unite and GMB hailed the workforce’s role in securing the yard’s future.

Susan Fitzgerald, regional co-ordinating officer with Unite, said: “From July 29th, when workers were faced with the imminent collapse of the yard, they were determined not only to save their own jobs but to safeguard Northern Ireland’s skillbase going forward. Their nine-week occupation will be remembered by future generations of workers as evidence of the power of collective action.”

Denise Walker, senior organiser with GMB, added: “While politicians substituted sympathy for action, workers took control of the situation and of their workplace. In so doing they have ensured that Harland and Wolff will not only continue but will be in a position to expand and fulfil its potential as a lynch pin of Northern Ireland’s economy”. – PA