Council ‘not aware’ arms made in Oldham are being used in Gaza

Reporter: Charlotte Green (Local Democracy Reporting)
Date published: 19 July 2019

Oldham council is ‘not aware’ if an Israeli-owned factory based in the town is producing ‘weapons’ being used in Gaza, a town hall meeting was told.

The Ferranti Technologies factory off Greenacres Road was bought by Elbit Systems, an Israeli-based defence company, in 2007.

Earlier this month, police were called after protesters climbed onto the factory roof and staged a protest in support of Palestine.

At a meeting of the full council, a representative from campaign group, ‘Oldham Peace and Justice’, asked whether the authority knew if Ferranti had supplied weapons to Israel for use in Gaza.

Town hall leader Sean Fielding told members he was not aware if the company was supplying weapons to Israel.

But he added that the council would be prepared to encourage the company to transition to the ‘better use’ of producing ‘green technologies’ instead of arms. 

Sean Fielding

The campaigner, who was not named, told councillors that Ferranti Technologies offers products including ‘sensors for unmanned aerial systems’, ‘see-through armoured headsets for use in armoured fighting vehicles’, and ‘training simulators for land, sea and air combat’.

“Which are advertised as ‘field proven’, meaning battle tested,” she added.

“Will the council support and encourage the transfer of Ferranti jobs to similar work in green technologies as part of your very creative green campaigns and perhaps your community-based campaigns, thereby saving local jobs and utilising the skill-sets and technical expertise developed by the Ferranti workforce?

“You councillors are in a unique position to actually do something about this.”

She also queried whether Ferranti Technologies was a ‘platform’ for selling Elbit’s Israeli-produced weapons in the UK and Europe.

Councillor Fielding responded: “To my knowledge the council is not aware if Ferranti Technologies Ltd has supplied weapons to Israel, or whether Ferranti is a platform for supplying Israeli weapons to the UK and Europe.

“The council would certainly be prepared to use whatever influence and resources we can afford to support and encourage this, and any other weapons firms, to transition to the manufacture of green technologies or otherwise as a way of preserving the skilled jobs but putting these skills to an arguably much better use.”


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