Shipyard workers set for strike vote

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Cammell Laird workers vote to go on strike. Pic © Chloe Tomkins

Shipyard workers at Cammell Laird could go on strike as up to 300 jobs are at risk, despite the company’s huge new multi-million contract deal with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The unions have said about 40% of jobs could go by March 2019, and members have unanimously backed a ballot on industrial action.

The firm behind the RRS Sir David Attenborough – or ‘Boaty McBoatface’ as it became known – announced the huge ten-year £619 million agreement earlier in the week, which was described as “a massive boost to the company”, but now says job losses are possible.

A spokesman for the Birkenhead-based shipbuilders said: “Cammell Laird is principally a marine and engineering contracting business. This means we can have peaks in demand for skilled and semi-skilled labour, which is the nature of contract-based industries.

“The company has been working with the trade union discussing contracts coming to an end and those talks will continue this week. We continue to bid for numerous contracts around the world and we remain very optimistic for future growth.”

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Representatives of both unions, Unite and GMB, were due to head to the House of Commons today to ask for the backing from MPs to save jobs at Cammell Laird after the sudden decision was made by shipyard bosses.

Albie McGuigan, the GMB Regional Organiser, told JMU Journalism the workers are still shocked at the announcement. He said: “To make redundancies there has to be a sound business or economic reason behind it. So far we have heard nothing.

“Cammell Laird did not give any indication of the scale of the redundancy at first, but then they issued us a 45 day HR1 notice, which basically means the redundancy would be 100-plus.

“It is absolutely ridiculous for redundancies to be on this scale after the deal with the RFA. Those ships will need maintaining for the next 10 years, including ordinary maintenance work and emergencies.”

About Chloe Tomkins, JMU Journalism