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Harland and Wolff workers lock themselves in to protest shipyard's sale

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DUBLIN (Reuters) – Workers at Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff protesting the planned sale of the business have locked themselves in and will not leave until a solution is found that keeps the shipyard open, a union supporting the workers said on Monday.

The Unite union did not say how many workers were locked in. The yard, famous for having built the ill-fated Titanic ocean liner in the early 20th century, employs around 130 people, specialising in energy and marine engineering projects.

The business is up for sale amid serious financial problems at its Norwegian parent Dolphin Drilling, which filed for bankruptcy in June.

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson will this week make his first visit to Northern Ireland as PM, and Unite is again calling on his government to nationalise Harland and Wolff and cooperate with the workers to chart a way forward for the yard,” said Unite’s Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald.

The workers strung a banner from one of the shipyard’s cranes with a call to “Save our Shipyard”, according to a blog posted on the union’s website.

(Reporting by Graham Fahy; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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