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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Shipworkers must wait for news
Appledore Shipyard
Workers at the shipyard are on reduced hours
Hundreds of shipyard workers in north Devon will have to wait until early next week to find out if they still have a job or not.

Directors of Appledore Shipbuilders held a board meeting on Friday about the yard's future but will not be making any announcement until Monday.

They say a potential customer may still place an order for four small boats over the weekend.

The 550 staff, who are waiting for news, are to meet first thing on Tuesday morning.

MP's support

"They informed us that they have concluded the meeting and a decision will be made on Monday," said Roy Harkness, one of the union convenors.

"We'll know the situation on Tuesday, whether the company will carry on trading or if it will be closed down."

Options for the directors include continuing to chase work, mothballing the yard, and total closure.

Joint shareholder John Langham says he and the other shareholders have been pouring their own money into the yard for months in the hope that new contracts will be secured.

Hopes were raised earlier this year that the yard would secure a 40m order to build a self-propelled barge for use in building offshore windfarms, but the cash for the order is not yet in place.

John Burnett, Liberal Democrat MP for Torridge and West Devon, has been lobbying Scottish Transport Minister Nichol Stephen to allow Appledore to make a late bid to ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne.

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