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Glastonbury Tony Benn Tower

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tony Benn Tower At Glastonbury Erected By GMB Members For 2014 Festival

North Devon shipyard linked to building the Tower in 2004 has continued to win work since reopening and have now won another order with the Irish Navy says GMB

The Tony Benn Tower was erected over the weekend (14th June) on the Glastonbury Festival site by with Pro-weld Fabrication from North Devon and GMB shipyard workers.

Earlier this month it was announced that The Leftfield Tower has been renamed in honour of Tony Benn who died earlier this year.

The 90 foot Tower was built by Pro-weld Fabrications and GMB shipyard workers from the Appledore shipyard in North Devon in 2004. The Appledore shipyard was facing closure in 2004. The order for the Tower from Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council was part of the successful union campaign to keep shipbuilding jobs in North Devon.

Tony Benn dedicated the Tower on the festival site in 2004. The full story of the Tower and the collaborative work to complete it at Left Field YOUTUBE Film

Pro-weld Fabrications and GMB shipyard workers have erected it before every festival since 2004. Pro- weld Fabrications have maintained and refurbished the Tower before and after every festival since 2004.

Gary Cook is one of the shipyard workers on site over the weekend. He is the former GMB convenor at the Appledore Shipbuilders when it went into receivership in 2003 and led the campaign to keep it open. He is now GMB Regional Officer for Shipbuilding on the South Coast including the Portsmouth yard now facing closure.

Gary Cook, GMB Regional Officer, said "GMB was determined to maintain shipbuilding in Appledore and the Tower gave us a lifeline at our darkest time.

I am delighted the yard has continued to win work since reopening and have now won another order with the Irish Navy. See notes to editors for update on current position at Appledore.

By contrast the Portsmouth shipbuilding facility faces closure which will end over 400 years of navel vessel construction. GMB is determined to reverse this closure too and we welcome help from all quarters to secure this aim."

Spencer Barnshaw, Secretary of Battersea and Wandsworth TUC, said "Tony Benn dedicating the Tower at Glastonbury Festival in 2004 called it a “tower of strength”. We dedicate the tower of strength to his memory and to the international cause of economic and social justice he stood for

We are grateful to Pro-weld Fabrications and the GMB shipyard workers for their superb care of this beautiful tower which symbolises a beacon of hope for those pining for justice ".".


Contact Gary Cook at GMB on 07712 677594 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or Spencer Barnshaw at BWTUC on 07958 125128 or Carmel Pollen 07946 172 461

Appledore Update June 2014

The yard delivered the first of the Irish Patrol vessels LE Samuel Beckett in April which was named by his niece and commissioned by the Irish Prime Minister at a ceremony held in Dublin on the 17th of May.

Le James Joyce is well underway and currently 60% complete progressing towards delivery early next year.

Quality, performance, cost and schedule of this class of ship have all exceeded expectations of the Irish Naval Service that they have now contracted for a third ship. We will cut steel this Autumn and deliver to the Naval Service in Mid 2016.

The workscope for the first Aircraft Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has been completed and she will be named by Her Majesty at a ceremony in Rosyth on the 4th of July. This will be transmitted live by satellite to a large screen in the shipyard for all employees to view.

HMS Prince of Wales is progressing on time and within budget with completion of the Appledore workscope scheduled for the end of 2015.

Other major contracts are currently being pursued by Babcock Appledore but details cannot be given at this point in time.

Significant progress has been made on Health and Safety with Accident Frequency rates being reduced by 26% on last year.

Currently we have approximately 400 employees on site which includes our sub-contractors and will activate our apprentice intake this year.

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