Memory of QE2 shipbuilders tarnished in exhibition


THE workers who built the QE2 have been blasted as unreliable and dishonest in an exhibition.

The QE2 was built on the Clyde by John Brown Shipbuilders and became Cunard’s longest-serving vessel.

But instead of praising the men and women who built the luxury liner, the company’s history attacks them.

The display can be found on board the new Cunard luxury liner, the Queen Victoria, and Scots tourists who have returned from a cruise on board the vessel have been left furious at what they saw.

One said: “There was a series of large panels detailing Cunard’s history in the ship’s main thoroughfare.

“We found the section about the QE2 very offensive and a terrible slur on great shipbuilding heritage and workers on the Clyde and John Brown’s in particular.

“Some of the statements were outrageous. They included ‘Some yard workers were stealing the ship faster than she could be built’ – Captain Robert Arnott, QE2’s longest serving Master.

“There was also a passage that read, ‘There were two QE2’s because so much of the original was squirreled…the project was dogged not only by pilfering but by technical problems and industry disputes within the dying Clyde shipbuilding industry…it nearly bankrupted Cunard.’

“But what really angered us was the listing of dozens of items pilfered by one worker.

“To feature that so prominently was really unnecessary.

“There was nothing there about the skill and dedication of a workforce which built the world’s best ships.”

Kevin Buchanan of the STUC has demanded an apology from Cunard. He said: “It would have been appropriate for Cunard to celebrate the unparalleled skills and craftsmanship of the Clyde shipbuilders who, in a hazardous and challenging environment, built wonderful ships like the QE2.

“By choosing to dwell on isolated examples of dishonesty they undeservedly tarnish the reputations of the thousands of honest workers who built some of the best ships in the world.

“Cunard should remove this deeply offensive exhibition immediately and apologise to those they have offended.”

Clydebank and Milngavie MSP Des McNulty said: “The glamour of the QE2 and the other great liners built at John Brown’s reflected the outstanding craftsmanship of those who built them.

“People chose to travel on the QE2 because it was the best – and it was the best because of those who built it.

“It is very disappointing that this exhibition focuses on pilfering by the workforce when it should concentrate instead on the skills and artistry, the technical mastery which made the vessel what it was.”