Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Thursday, 21 July 2005 16:10 UK

Jobs to go at munitions centres

DMC Beith
The Beith centre is set to see 10 redundancies

More than 200 posts will be lost at three defence munitions centres in Scotland under reorganisation plans.

The number of staff employed at DMC Crombie in Fife is set to fall from 168 to 26 by 2010.

The 360 posts at Beith, North Ayrshire, will be cut by 60 and the 110 posts at Glen Douglas in Argyll will fall to 90. Both centres expect 10 redundancies.

Defence Secretary John Reid said the moves were aimed at improving support for front-line troops.

The munitions centre at Crombie, in west Fife, has been operational since 1916.

Other sites

The MoD has decided that its explosive processing and storage capacity will not be required in the long term.

Those functions will be transferred to other sites, including those at Beith and Glen Douglas, over the next five years.

However, Crombie will continue to carry out support work for Royal Navy ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.

Staff affected by today's announcement will be given help and training to find new opportunities where appropriate
John Reid
Defence Secretary

Mr Reid said the centre's responsibilities would include loading and unloading vessels, maintaining equipment for military exercises and fork-lift truck training.

"This decision is the right one for our armed forces," he said.

"Whilst every opportunity will be taken to reduce staff numbers by natural wastage and voluntary early release, some redundancies are expected.

"Staff affected by today's announcement will be given help and training to find new opportunities where appropriate.

"We will also work with the local authority and Scottish Executive to assist the local community where we can."

Improve support

The defence secretary said the job losses at Beith and Glen Douglas were part of a radical transformation of the defence supply chain.

The MoD believes that the reorganisation of the way equipment and supplies are stored and distributed will improve support to troops and reduce costs by 50m a year by 2010.

It is expected that about 2,000 posts will be lost across the UK as a result of the efforts to streamline the network's structure.

Detailed work

Mr Reid said natural staff wastage and voluntary redundancies would account for many of the job losses, but that compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out.

"These changes are the result of three years of detailed work involving management, the trade unions and staff," he added.

"They will enable us to better cope with surges in demand and ensure that goods and equipment reach the right location, at the right time."

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