Workers at Birkenhead’s Cammell Laird shipyard will begin a 10 week programme of industrial action tomorrow (Friday 23 November) in defence of their jobs, amid plans to slash the workforce by 40 per cent.

Around 250 members of Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, Unite, will start their action with an overtime ban from 16:00 tomorrow stretching until 07:00 on Friday 1 February 2019. Monday (26 November) then sees a three week series of rolling strikes begin with different sections of the workforce walking out for 24 hours at a time (see notes).

In a show of unity workers are expected to walk out on mass at the end of tomorrow’s shift at 15:00. Picket lines will be in place from 07:00 – 17:00 Monday 26 November to Friday 14 December.

Workers are angry over Cammell Laird’s ‘unnecessary’ job cuts which would see 291 jobs axed by March 2019, despite the shipyard recently winning two contracts worth a total of £619 million to support and maintain ships for the Royal Navy.

Unite is fearful that the company wants to casualise the workforce in a move that will see vital shipbuilding skills lost for a generation, as full-time jobs are replaced by agency labour.

Commenting Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “Cammell Laird bosses should be in no doubt of the determination of the workforce to defend their jobs and take a stand against these unnecessary job cuts that could see people out of a job before Christmas.

“Unite members will not sit back and allow their livelihoods to be casualised for bosses’ own cost cutting ends.

“Unite put a proposal to management using the company’s own figures proving that the company could avoid dismissing anyone until February.

“Not only would it have allowed time for additional contracts in the offing to be secured and come on stream, it would have also given the breathing space needed to clearly demonstrate that all compulsory redundancies can be avoided.

“Instead Cammell Laird bosses have signalled their intent to press ahead with their callous plans that will see vital shipbuilding skills lost for a generation. Instead of provoking industrial action, we would urge Cammell Laird to think again and sit down with the government to discuss how work can be managed to avoid compulsory redundancies.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 

Notes to editors:

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

In addition to an overtime ban the industrial action sees three weeks of rolling strikes as follows:
• All Fitter and Welder members – series of 24 hour stoppages commencing at 07:00 hours on 26 November 2018, 3 December 2018 and 10 December 2018.
• All Plater and Plumber members – series of 24 hour stoppage commencing at 07:00 hours on 27 November 2018, 4 December 2018 and 11 December 2018.
• All Stores, Rigger and Labourer members – series of 24 hour stoppages commencing at 07:00 hours on 28 November 2018, 5 December 2017 and 12 December 2018.
• All Cleaner, Health & Safety, Machinist and Shipwright members – series of 24 hour stoppages commencing at 07:00 hours on 29 November 2018, 6 December 2018 and 13 December 2018.
• All Electrical Labourer, Electrician, Maintenance, Plant, Quality Control members - series of 24 hour stoppages commencing at 07:00 hours on 30 November 2018, 7 December 2018 and 14 December 2018.