Royal IHC, trade unions team up on Dutch submarine replacement program

The Netherlands-based company Royal IHC and trade unions FNV, CNV, RMU and De Unie have signed a covenant within the framework of the program for the replacement of the Dutch Walrus class submarines.

A year ago, Royal IHC and France’s defense contractor Naval Group joined forces in a bid to secure a contract for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s USD 2.8 billion submarine replacement project.

The program will see the construction of four new submarines for the navy.

In this covenant, the parties have agreed to intensively work together when Royal IHC and Naval Group are selected by the Dutch government to carry out the assignment.

As informed, agreements have been made in the covenant on recruiting, training and keeping employees permanently employable. With this covenant, all parties involved endorse the importance of cooperation, good working conditions, the provision of apprenticeships, inflow and growth opportunities and the development of the right training.

“The replacement of the Walrus class is a very large and magnificent project. A challenge that IHC cannot take on alone. We of course need Naval Group for that, and certainly as many Dutch partners as possible, in all kinds of areas. We are therefore very happy with the support of the unions. Together we can ensure the correct inflow and flow of professionals in the Rotterdam region,” Dave Vander Heyde, CEO Royal IHC, said.

“With such a large order from the Dutch government, such as the replacement of the Walrus class submarines, in terms of construction and long-term maintenance should be chosen for employment in the Netherlands,” according to the trade unions.

“Investing in this strategic sector is good for preserving and expanding knowledge, good for employment and good for the Netherlands as an industrial country. This also includes clear agreements about training, employment conditions and working conditions as they are in the covenant signed today.”

In December 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MOD) selected Naval Group, Saab Kockums and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for the next bidding phase in the navy’s submarine replacement program.

The contract would be signed with one of the companies in 2022. All four submarine newbuilds are planned to be operational by 2031.

The Royal Netherlands Navy has four older Walrus class submarines which have been in service since 1990 – Walrus, Zeeleeuw, Dolfijn and Bruinvis. This is the only submarine class in the navy’s fleet.

Read more:

France’s Naval Group opens Dutch office in bid for submarine, MCM work

Photo: Image Courtesy: Royal IHC