Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 15:30 UK

Work pledge for Clyde shipyards

Artist's impression of new carrier
The Royal Navy's new super-carriers are due for completion in 2014.

Shipbuilder BVT has at least seven years' work for its Clyde yards, Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has said.

Emergency talks were held between Mr Murphy and BVT after a leaked memo revealed the possibility of large-scale redundancies on the Clyde.

The memo said that BVT could shut either its two sites at Scotstoun and Govan in Glasgow or one in Portsmouth when work on two carriers ends in 2014.

Mr Murphy said the government was determined to stand by the Clyde.

He said the order book was full, which would guarantee jobs at the Clyde yards for the next seven years.

An agreement between the company and the Ministry of Defence was due to be signed within the next few weeks and that would secure work for the next 15 years, he added.

Mr Murphy said: "This is a remarkable commitment to the Clyde, we're here for the long-term and that's very important."

'Sustainable business'

However, there is still some doubt over the longer-term future of the yards.

The memo shows BVT Surface Fleet's chief executive Alan Johnston forecasting savings of up to £500m from the closure of yards after the contract for two Royal Navy super-carriers was completed in 2014.

Although further work may be promised, Mr Johnston was not able to give a guarantee that all jobs would be secure.

He said: "My mission is to create a sustainable business for the future and that means developing new products and new markets and this company has been good at doing that."

The SNP MSP for Govan, Nicola Sturgeon, dismissed the emergency meeting between Mr Murphy and BVT and said the workers wanted more than a photo shoot.

The deputy first minister said: "It is all very well seeking assurances from BVT but Jim Murphy must deliver a guarantee from Gordon Brown that the Ministry of Defence will not force the closure of any Scottish shipyard."

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