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Jamie McIvor reports
"Once again the threat of heavy job losses is hanging over Clydeside"
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Sunday, 6 May, 2001, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
New jobs scare at Clyde yards
Govan shipyard
Unions fear for the future of the yards
Thousands of jobs at two Clydeside shipyards are in jeopardy, unions have warned.

Unions fear almost 2,000 jobs could go at BAE Systems yards at Scotstoun and Govan by Christmas because of delays over contracts.

Once again, the threat of heavy job losses is hanging over Clydeside.

Last October the Govan shipyard lost out on a major ferry contract but was awarded an order to build two Ministry of Defence vessels worth 150m.

BAE Systems had been bidding for a six-ferry MoD contract but was awarded work on two other vessels to secure the yard's future until a contract for four Type 45 destroyers came on stream.

We can't afford for the people in Whitehall to sit and let the yards go to the wall.

Jim Moohan of the Federation of Shipbuilding Unions

Unions says that should have happened last month.

But the MoD insists they intend to go ahead with the orders and it is up to BAE Systems to decide which yards will do the work.

Unions say 500 workers could be sacked within weeks and by Christmas hundreds more at the Scotstoun yard and its sister at Govan could be out of work.

BAE Systems say they are working with the unions to keep people in jobs through what they admit is an "uncertain time".

Unions will meet the defence secretary Geoff Hoon on Thursday to discuss the situation.

It is likely the election will have been called by then and the last thing Labour wants is the threat of massive job losses to become an issue during the campaign.

Bitter blow

Jim Moohan of the Federation of Shipbuilding Unions, said: "It is a bitter blow.

"The government have had time to plan for the future of shipbuilding.

"We can't afford for the people in Whitehall to sit and let the yards go to the wall."

Defence Minister Lewis Moonie said the long term future of the yards was secure.

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See also:

09 Feb 01 | Scotland
Govan yard launches new ship
26 Oct 00 | Scotland
Govan handed 150m lifeline
28 Oct 00 | Scotland
Govan campaigners give thanks
15 Jun 00 | Scotland
BAe to cut shipyard jobs
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