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BBC Scotland business correspondent Hayley Millar
"Two years to the day since the yard was saved, redundancies are back on the cards"
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Wednesday, 11 July, 2001, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Union showdown with shipyard bosses
Workers leave the BAE Systems yard in Govan, Glasgow
Workers said the news was "a surprise for everyone"
Union leaders are preparing for a showdown with managers from BAE Systems over their decision to axe more than 1,100 jobs at Scottish shipyards.

Shop stewards say they will oppose any compulsory redundancies at the company's yards on the Clyde at Govan and Scotstoun.

BAE says it will try to minimise the effect of the cuts by offering early retirement, voluntary redundancy, redeployment and help with relocation.

Geoff Hoon in the House of Commons
Geoff Hoon announced the six ship order
But union officials have vowed that they will not lie down and accept the job losses, which are being made despite BAE winning a lucrative order to build six Royal Navy warships.

John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB Union, said he was "shocked and devastated" by the news.

"Workers were expecting an announcement which would secure jobs, not result in 1,000 jobs being axed," he said.

The losses were announced on Tuesday afternoon.

More than 1,000 jobs will go on the River Clyde, in Glasgow, and a further 150 will be cut at Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria.

Danny Carrigan, national officer of the Amalgamated Engineering & Electrical Union, said: "We will not take these job losses lying down."

'Black day'

John Wall, national officer of the Manufacturing Science & Finance union, said vital skills would be lost to the yards and warned that workers would have to be recruited from overseas to meet future orders.

He added: "This is a black day for the shipbuilding industry."

UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said work on the anti-aircraft type 45 destroyers would be split between two companies - BAE Systems and Vosper Thornycroft.

Danny Carrigan
Danny Carrigan: "We will not take this lying down"

But Simon Kirby, managing director of BAE Systems Marine, said the announcement would do nothing to ease the lack of work in the short-term.

"We have done everything we can to address this situation but regrettably have been left with no alternative other than to announce these redundancies," said Mr Kirby.

"I recognise the concern that this announcement will cause our employees, their families and the local communities and we are determined to handle this restructuring sensitively and professionally."

Subdued mood

However, in his statement, Mr Hoon said the contract would secure a long term future for BAE's yards.

He said: "The first of class ship will be assembled and launched at Scotstoun, the focus of design support to the whole class will remain there, with continuing participation by both shipbuilders.

"The remaining ships will be assembled and launched at Barrow.

"Based on the company's own estimates, once this total construction programme is up and running, work on Type 45 should sustain a steady level of some 1,200 jobs on the Clyde and around a further 900 jobs at Barrow-in-Furness.

BAE Systems welder at work
BAE workers were briefed at a mass meeting
"I understand that, in light of this package of work, the company has no plans to close any of its yards."

Mr Hoon said the cost of the six ships will be around 4.3 billion, with deliveries starting in 2007.

The mood at BAE's Govan yard after the job cuts were announced was subdued.

The news was given to staff at a mass meeting and Jim McFall, 47, who has worked as a trainman for the past 22 years, said the announcement had come as a huge blow to workers.

He said: "Everybody is very subdued, but there are a lot of questions still to answer just now.

"We heard in the last couple of weeks these figures of 500 to 1,000 jobs, but as soon as we heard that figure of 1,000 it was a blow. It really is a surprise for everyone."

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See also:

10 Jul 01 | Scotland
BAE axes 1,150 shipyard jobs
10 Jul 01 | Scotland
Ministers under fire over Clyde cuts
10 Jul 01 | Scotland
Unions pledge to fight yard cuts
10 Jul 01 | Business
BAE, Vosper win destroyer order
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