Unite, the country’s biggest union, has said it will fight dozens of compulsory redundancies at Cammell Laird, the Birkenhead shipyard set to build ‘Boaty McBoatface’.
Unite had been holding meetings with bosses at the yard in a bid to avoid proposed job losses.
However, Cammell Laird has today (Friday 20 May) confirmed it will press ahead with 68 compulsory redundancies despite union offers to reduce pay and working hours.
Unite, with 300 members at the site on the Mersey, represents almost half the workforce.
A mass meeting was held this morning (Friday 20 May) informing the workforce of the company’s decision – a Unite ballot for possible industrial action over the proposed redundancies closes on Monday (23 May) at midday.
The company blames a drop off in contracts for the move but Unite has urged the firm to retain skills at the yard ahead of major work in the next few months to build the ‘Boaty McBoatface’ polar research vessel.
The contract to build the ship, which will be officially known as the RRS Sir David Attenborough, is worth £200m, was won after Cammell Laird beat off international competition for the work.
Phil Allman, Unite regional officer, said: “It is very disappointing when we are just a few months away from major work building a very high profile ship and the company are making forced redundancies.
“We will continue the fight to save these jobs; we have bent over backwards to come up with options on pay and working hours, but those have been rejected.
“Our ballot closes early next week and Cammell Laird should be in no doubt industrial action remains a possibility.
“We want the company to speak to the shop floor and explain their decision. We urge them come back to the table with a proposal to stop these unnecessary job losses.
“The workforce is united in opposing enforced redundancies. People not at risk are fully committed to supporting those who are deemed to be at risk.
“We are in a situation now which sees us moving back to 2009 workforce levels and we have further concerns about the future of jobs at this yard.
“There is a strong future here but that can only be built around skilled permanent jobs. We would not tolerate a move to the temporary jobs we see elsewhere.”
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Phil Allman on 07918 630544 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.