Unite members at Cammell Laird will be balloted for industrial action over the bosses’ plans to slash the workforce by 40 per cent – despite having work for the next decade on the order books.

Unite the union will start balloting its more than 230 members at the Birkenhead shipyard on Monday (29 October) over whether they wish to strike and/or take industrial action short of a strike over the job losses planned. The ballot closes on Friday 9 November.

The dispute centres on Cammell Laird’s plans to shed over 290 jobs by March 2019, despite the shipyard recently winning two contracts, worth a total of £619 million, to support and maintain ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary over 10 years.

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

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “We had a meeting with the management yesterday (Thursday 25 October) and the outcome was that we are more convinced than ever that there is no reason to make compulsory redundancies.

“This is why our members will begin to receive ballot papers on Monday asking them if they want to take industrial action, including the option of strikes, to defend their jobs.

“The mid-to-long term future of this shipyard is bright, Managers have told us by the end of 2019 they will be in the strongest position since the yard re-opened in 2001, as they will have 10–15 years of work on the horizon.

“We believe that the announcement of the Mersey ferry building contract is imminent. Should this be awarded to Cammell Laird, this would secure more jobs. We understand that there are other contracts in the offing that could also boost the future employment prospects at Cammell Laird even further.

“We believe that these planned job losses are unnecessary and a slap in the face for a dedicated workforce.

“We call on all those stakeholders involved to come together to bring work forward. We won’t accept our members’ jobs being sacrificed as the easy solution to a short term problem that has been magnified by management for its own cost-cutting ends.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.