Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Published at 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Business: The Company File
Kvaerner workers applaud union officials
The joy is reflected on workers' faces
Workers at Kvaerner's Glasgow Govan shipyard have given shop stewards a standing ovation after a deal was struck over the sale of the yard.
Champagne corks popped and union officials were piped in to the meeting as the workers showed their gratitude towards their representatives.
Talks are continuing on the detail of the sale but the signs are positive that the deal will be finalised.
The 1,200 workers have undergone weeks of uncertainty during the on-off negotiations between Kvaerner and GEC.
But the framework of a deal was finally reached after 10 hours of talks at the Scottish Office chaired by Scottish Secretary John Reid.
Dr Reid said the 241 compulsory redundancy notices due to take effect on Friday would be lifted by the end of the week.
"The government have been extremely helpful in an extremely defensible fashion and I can go no further than that. The agreement is confidential."
Kvaerner announced in April it was pulling out of its worldwide shipping interests and was putting the Glasgow yard up for sale.
Dr Reid said: "At the same time Marconi has agreed to place work into Govan to cover any shortfall as previous orders are completed."
It is thought GEC will transfer the completion of two supply vessels for the Royal Navy from its yard at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
"That is why my priority over this difficult time has been to do everything I can to get both sides talking together again.
However he warned that Marconi could only place enough work in the yard to secure its short term future and that Govan would have to win further contracts for it to remain viable in the long term.
GMB union convener Jamie Webster said: "It's a dream come true, better than winning the lottery.
With the yard closing down for summer holidays, Mr Webster said he would tell workers: "Let's have a party. We are going on holiday on Friday, seriously, that's what we'll say."
A GEC Marconi Marine spokesman confirmed detailed talks were continuing on the deal.
He added that British Aerospace, which is about to merge with Marconi, has been kept informed and has been consulted on the decisions taken so far.
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