AMID the claims and counter-claims concerning the Ferguson Marine shipyard, it’s worth remembering there remains a highly skilled workforce on the lower Clyde that stands ready to deliver the ships Scotland’s island communities need.

Those workers, along with their yard, are a national asset and they are growing weary of the reputational damage caused as the mud is slung between Jim McColl, CMAL and the Scottish Government.

GMB supports an inquiry into what really happened at Ferguson Marine and in the final analysis we would imagine that both sides will have some tough questions to answer; not least concerning the decision to purchase a "first in class" ferry model when an efficient sand modern workhorse was needed.

An inquiry will also need to establish why a ferry that was "launched" nearly two years ago has no windows on its bridge (what appears as windows are actually black paint). It will also need to consider why passenger seating was ordered for the vessel only for the designs to change and with it the seating plans. It may also want to learn why warranties for engines and component parts will likely expire before the ferries are actually in operation.

When it’s all said and done, the truth will out and this contract will probably be a global case study in how not to procure ships.

GMB expects that our members in Ferguson will be afforded the opportunity to have their views heard at any inquiry. It may not make easy listening but their input is absolutely necessary, as is their continued representation on the board of Ferguson's – irrespective of the future ownership of the business.

But until that event the mud-slinging needs to stop and egos must be parked. It is unacceptable that our members and their families have been pawns in a blame game between big money and high politics. It is taking a toll on a blameless workforce and is, quite frankly, embarrassing the country.

Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Scotland Secretary, Glasgow G3.

IF the Ferguson shipyard fiasco is allowed to finish up without the yard getting the opportunity to justify its claims to the public, then it will leave an unproven stain on its reputation as a builder which doubles the contract price. The yard will be finished – no matter who owns it. A team of assessors must be appointed now, ideally under the leadership of Vic Emery – if he is willing and available. Remember, he is the man who came from the shipyards and sorted the Edinburgh tram stalemate.

Peter L Harrington, Kinross.