Unite the UK’s leading union, has branded the announcement today (Friday 5 March) that the Cammell Laird shipbuilding yard in Birkenhead is intending to make 178 workers redundant, as ‘totally unacceptable’.

The yard currently has a workforce of approximately 700 workers.

Unions ignored

Despite there being a job retention scheme in place at the yard, Unite was not consulted about the redundancies and has not been informed about the business case behind the decision.

Agency labour

The workforce were briefed by management that the redundancies are part of a restructure of the business, which will target permanent employment, and that in future the yard will operate with a high degree of casualised agency labour.

If the decision to make the redundancies is due to a temporary downturn in work as a result of the pandemic, Unite will be arguing that Cammell Laird should be furloughing workers, while orders are sought, to avoid job losses.

Shocking decision

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “This shocking announcement is totally unacceptable and it is highly disappointing that Cammell Laird’s management are attacking the workers who put themselves at risk and carried on working throughout the pandemic.

 "Our officials were only told of the announcement minutes before the workforce. Unite is now seeking an urgent meeting to understand the business case behind this decision and explore all options to reverse this announcement of job losses, 

 “It is alarming that Cammell Laird is planning to operate with a high degree of agency labour. This will result in workers being paid less, having fewer rights for undertaking highly skilled work and will drive them towards the pain of casualisation. It will also severely damage the industry by reducing skills and reducing productivity.

 “Unite will also be considering the use of all avenues open to it including industrial action and political pressure, to prevent these job losses happening.

 “Cammell Laird is a key strategic shipyard and it is essential, to secure the UK’s future success, that its shipyards expand, rather than they cut the jobs of highly skilled workers.”


Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.