Author Topic: Farewell Harland and Wolff  (Read 4462 times)

Nick Keene

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2019, 11:52:20 PM »
Whilst I really do hate to see the decline in Belfast based shipbuilding in all its forms and the end of the H&W shipbuilding industry, I see and hear many shout the abhorrence of everyone and anyone that contributed to its eventual demise, much of what I have to say I expect will attract scorn, but everything I say is true and factual and has been described and witnessed personally by myself and close friends over many many years. 

I am old enough to remember the shipyard when it was still very busy and ships were regularly occupying the dry docks and availing of the vast amount of local skill and talent who were contributing to the yards success. There was of course the flip end of the coin who were day and daily robbing the place blind through scams and schemes that even as a young man, being witness too I found very disturbing. Government were pouring millions into the yard and nothing was changing. Potential work was being redirected away from Belfast and although some travelled across to the Clyde and similar UK destinations, much was lost to countries, states and nations who saw the potential in offering a better service, a much more efficient and less time consuming process and the icing on the cake at cheaper prices. The reason they could do this was because they had a workforce which valued the importance of regular work, more opportunities for their children and their children's children and the wealth from subsequent growth. Not so at H&W! Instead they managed to continue to fail through a huge majority of workers more intent in filling their own pockets at the businesses expense.

Over the years I witnessed:

1. Workers regularly relieving the yard off tools, services and construction materials meant for ships, but finding their way to make railings for their gardens, gates for their driveway and their family's of course and enough paint and brushes, screws, nails, drill bits and anything else that would have made B&Q blush and find difficulty storing.

2. A family friend asking if another friend could get his hands on and old Army sleeping bag. What for I asked? The night shift was his reply, kindly explaining that despite perhaps say thirty welders being paid night rates to weld, it was common practice that only ten really well spaced out across the yard actually welded whilst the other twenty got their heads down. So two nights out of three you were getting paid to sleep. Remind me again why orders were getting late and the yard were getting heavily penalised? Supervisors were not a bit shy themselves of availing of this common practice.

3. The yard had a chroming plant, its initial intention was to provide a chroming service for items that needed to be produced for the ships, not the workers alloy wheels, motorbike parts and whatever else needed done for a few quid into the back pocket. It was running at so much of a loss it closed down and work was sent outside and causing yard job losses.

4. I personally witnessed workers using and availing of the plethora of escape holes throughout the perimeter, rolling up coveralls and hiding them so when they eventually made it back to the yard so that they could "clock out" and get paid for the entire day instead of perhaps the 3-4 hours that they had actually spent working.

5. Social clubs and pubs, mainly around Dee Street and East Belfast of course on the other hand benefited greatly from the grateful and hard working workforce, both during the afternoons and evenings , as well as during the day when many workers were being paid by the yard.

I'm sorry for this rant, but I make no apologies for calling it as it is. The failings of H&W is the failing of successive workforces and their lack of professional commitment and dedication to the yard, themselves and their families.

BLOOMFIELD

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2019, 12:02:16 AM »
Given the modern massive ships that currently sail the oceans that had to be built somewhere, I'm wondering why H and W did not win any of these contracts.

The Australian Government called for international tenders to design and build 12 submarines worth billions of dollars, the contract was awarded to the French; did H and W submit a tender?

Could the Australian Shipyards not win the Contract to build their own Subs    ??? ::) ::)

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_shipyards
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achill

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2019, 12:04:32 AM »
Whilst I really do hate to see the decline in Belfast based shipbuilding in all its forms and the end of the H&W shipbuilding industry, I see and hear many shout the abhorrence of everyone and anyone that contributed to its eventual demise, much of what I have to say I expect will attract scorn, but everything I say is true and factual and has been described and witnessed personally by myself and close friends over many many years. 

I am old enough to remember the shipyard when it was still very busy and ships were regularly occupying the dry docks and availing of the vast amount of local skill and talent who were contributing to the yards success. There was of course the flip end of the coin who were day and daily robbing the place blind through scams and schemes that even as a young man, being witness too I found very disturbing. Government were pouring millions into the yard and nothing was changing. Potential work was being redirected away from Belfast and although some travelled across to the Clyde and similar UK destinations, much was lost to countries, states and nations who saw the potential in offering a better service, a much more efficient and less time consuming process and the icing on the cake at cheaper prices. The reason they could do this was because they had a workforce which valued the importance of regular work, more opportunities for their children and their children's children and the wealth from subsequent growth. Not so at H&W! Instead they managed to continue to fail through a huge majority of workers more intent in filling their own pockets at the businesses expense.

Over the years I witnessed:

1. Workers regularly relieving the yard off tools, services and construction materials meant for ships, but finding their way to make railings for their gardens, gates for their driveway and their family's of course and enough paint and brushes, screws, nails, drill bits and anything else that would have made B&Q blush and find difficulty storing.

2. A family friend asking if another friend could get his hands on and old Army sleeping bag. What for I asked? The night shift was his reply, kindly explaining that despite perhaps say thirty welders being paid night rates to weld, it was common practice that only ten really well spaced out across the yard actually welded whilst the other twenty got their heads down. So two nights out of three you were getting paid to sleep. Remind me again why orders were getting late and the yard were getting heavily penalised? Supervisors were not a bit shy themselves of availing of this common practice.

3. The yard had a chroming plant, its initial intention was to provide a chroming service for items that needed to be produced for the ships, not the workers alloy wheels, motorbike parts and whatever else needed done for a few quid into the back pocket. It was running at so much of a loss it closed down and work was sent outside and causing yard job losses.

4. I personally witnessed workers using and availing of the plethora of escape holes throughout the perimeter, rolling up coveralls and hiding them so when they eventually made it back to the yard so that they could "clock out" and get paid for the entire day instead of perhaps the 3-4 hours that they had actually spent working.

5. Social clubs and pubs, mainly around Dee Street and East Belfast of course on the other hand benefited greatly from the grateful and hard working workforce, both during the afternoons and evenings , as well as during the day when many workers were being paid by the yard.

I'm sorry for this rant, but I make no apologies for calling it as it is. The failings of H&W is the failing of successive workforces and their lack of professional commitment and dedication to the yard, themselves and their families.
That use to be the old question how many worked in the ship yard the answer about half of them :)

BLOOMFIELD

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2019, 12:45:48 AM »


The rest of he Ship Builders of the World, claimed it could not be built and launched,  H & W did both   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rvKQlmW1-g
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desi

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2019, 02:56:16 AM »
That use to be the old question how many worked in the ship yard the answer about half of them :)
Frank Carson the comedian used to call it HARLAND & BLUFF  ;) :spiteful: :punish:
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JohnKelly

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2019, 06:30:11 AM »
Whilst I really do hate to see the decline in Belfast based shipbuilding in all its forms and the end of the H&W shipbuilding industry, I see and hear many shout the abhorrence of everyone and anyone that contributed to its eventual demise, much of what I have to say I expect will attract scorn, but everything I say is true and factual and has been described and witnessed personally by myself and close friends over many many years. ..Truncated Message.

Thank you for taking the time to post your experiences.

I left Northern Ireland over 50 years go with little work, travel or residential experience and postings such as yours are a lesson in history.

 O0

Billy Fish

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2019, 08:08:15 AM »
Whilst I really do hate to see the decline in Belfast based shipbuilding in all its forms and the end of the H&W shipbuilding industry, I see and hear many shout the abhorrence of everyone and anyone that contributed to its eventual demise, much of what I have to say I expect will attract scorn, but everything I say is true and factual and has been described and witnessed personally by myself and close friends over many many years. 

I am old enough to remember the shipyard when it was still very busy and ships were regularly occupying the dry docks and availing of the vast amount of local skill and talent who were contributing to the yards success. There was of course the flip end of the coin who were day and daily robbing the place blind through scams and schemes that even as a young man, being witness too I found very disturbing. Government were pouring millions into the yard and nothing was changing. Potential work was being redirected away from Belfast and although some travelled across to the Clyde and similar UK destinations, much was lost to countries, states and nations who saw the potential in offering a better service, a much more efficient and less time consuming process and the icing on the cake at cheaper prices. The reason they could do this was because they had a workforce which valued the importance of regular work, more opportunities for their children and their children's children and the wealth from subsequent growth. Not so at H&W! Instead they managed to continue to fail through a huge majority of workers more intent in filling their own pockets at the businesses expense.

Over the years I witnessed:

1. Workers regularly relieving the yard off tools, services and construction materials meant for ships, but finding their way to make railings for their gardens, gates for their driveway and their family's of course and enough paint and brushes, screws, nails, drill bits and anything else that would have made B&Q blush and find difficulty storing.

2. A family friend asking if another friend could get his hands on and old Army sleeping bag. What for I asked? The night shift was his reply, kindly explaining that despite perhaps say thirty welders being paid night rates to weld, it was common practice that only ten really well spaced out across the yard actually welded whilst the other twenty got their heads down. So two nights out of three you were getting paid to sleep. Remind me again why orders were getting late and the yard were getting heavily penalised? Supervisors were not a bit shy themselves of availing of this common practice.

3. The yard had a chroming plant, its initial intention was to provide a chroming service for items that needed to be produced for the ships, not the workers alloy wheels, motorbike parts and whatever else needed done for a few quid into the back pocket. It was running at so much of a loss it closed down and work was sent outside and causing yard job losses.

4. I personally witnessed workers using and availing of the plethora of escape holes throughout the perimeter, rolling up coveralls and hiding them so when they eventually made it back to the yard so that they could "clock out" and get paid for the entire day instead of perhaps the 3-4 hours that they had actually spent working.

5. Social clubs and pubs, mainly around Dee Street and East Belfast of course on the other hand benefited greatly from the grateful and hard working workforce, both during the afternoons and evenings , as well as during the day when many workers were being paid by the yard.

I'm sorry for this rant, but I make no apologies for calling it as it is. The failings of H&W is the failing of successive workforces and their lack of professional commitment and dedication to the yard, themselves and their families.

Makes one wonder who actually built the 1,600 ships over the last 150 years ? What you describe above was common practice in any UK shipyard. It wasn't exclusive to Harland & Wolff.  :D
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Billy Fish

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2019, 08:09:30 AM »
That use to be the old question how many worked in the ship yard the answer about half of them :)

Are you speaking as a former employee ?  ::)
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jillyfred

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2019, 08:55:14 AM »
Makes one wonder who actually built the 1,600 ships over the last 150 years ? What you describe above was common practice in any UK shipyard. It wasn't exclusive to Harland & Wolff.  :D

[/quote
====
Its not exclusive to Shipyards either!

jilly

achill

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2019, 09:05:54 AM »
Makes one wonder who actually built the 1,600 ships over the last 150 years ? What you describe above was common practice in any UK shipyard. It wasn't exclusive to Harland & Wolff.  :D
So you are agreeing that it happened. :)

Billy Fish

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2019, 10:37:02 AM »
So you are agreeing that it happened. :)

See relpy #32.  ::)
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jillyfred

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2019, 11:19:07 AM »

I have to say Billy-like Bloomfield-your never stuck for an answer! :D

jilly

Number26

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2019, 11:51:43 AM »
You are really doing the vast majority of workers who passed thru the gates of the yard a great disservice.to lump them all together as thieves,sloopers and lazy people is extreme .a tiny minority of workers may have done some of the things you mentioned,but I personally know guys sacked and paid off for doing these things.also you neglected to say that you could go to the relevant department and get a managers docket for removal and also a lend of goods.in a workforce of thousands Iím sure it was hard to keep everyone honest,but donít betray it as a place of layabouts and bad people,you have your memories and I mine.

Nick Keene

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2019, 11:59:18 AM »
You are really doing the vast majority of workers who passed thru the gates of the yard a great disservice.to lump them all together as thieves,sloopers and lazy people is extreme .a tiny minority of workers may have done some of the things you mentioned,but I personally know guys sacked and paid off for doing these things.also you neglected to say that you could go to the relevant department and get a managers docket for removal and also a lend of goods.in a workforce of thousands Iím sure it was hard to keep everyone honest,but donít betray it as a place of layabouts and bad people,you have your memories and I mine.

I think the proof is in the pudding mate and the rapid decline in work, the mistrust placed in the yard by potential investors and buyers alike and the governments continued bailouts were all to no avail and look where we are now.

Number26

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Re: Farewell Harland and Wolff
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2019, 12:09:21 PM »
Thatís your opinion and your entitled to it,when Japan,China and Korea entered the market it became a different ball game.kawasaki heavy industries could build a ship for less than Harland could get the steel for,just one example of the decline in shipbuilding in Belfast of which there are many.as a matter of interest how long ago did you work there nick?