Firm’s vacancies a ‘lifeline’ for BAE shipyard workers

A section of ''HMS Prince Charles under construction at BAE in Portsmouth
A section of ''HMS Prince Charles under construction at BAE in Portsmouth
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SHIPYARD workers facing redundancy could be offered jobs at a rival security firm with hundreds of vacancies.

Lockheed Martin, which has bases in Havant and Whiteley, has around 200 vacancies across its UK operation.

The aerospace and defence firm says it is looking to recruit experienced and talented individuals and is offering a ‘lifeline’ to those affected by BAE Systems’ recent announcement that it will close down its shipbuilding arm in Portsmouth.

Some, but not all, of the Lockheed Martin vacancies are at the Havant and Whiteley sites, while others are based in other parts of the company’s business around the country.

The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘Of course it’s really good that people who need jobs are being given the opportunity. But it is a pity that these jobs are not going to be in Portsmouth and it doesn’t take away from the fact the closure decision is wrong in the first place, especially before the outcome of the Scottish referendum.

‘If Scotland votes for independence, BAE will have to go and start hiring people again. It would be a terrible shame if these skills are lost.’

Recruitment staff from Lockheed Martin visited BAE Systems yesterday to speak to interested workers.

A spokesman for Lockheed Martin said: ‘Recruitment personnel from Lockheed Martin UK are offering a lifeline to employees facing redundancy as a result of rival BAE Systems preparing to close its Portsmouth shipbuilding operations.

‘During the last 15 years, the company has grown to become a major supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence as well as customers in the commercial sector.

‘The London-based subsidiary of the world’s biggest security and aerospace company is looking to recruit experienced personnel across a number of disciplines, covering functional support areas as well as engineering, and targeting skilled employees from BAE Systems in Portsmouth as potential recruits.’

John Ferret, a negotiations officer for the Prospect Union, said: ‘Our members are professional staff with engineering qualifications. I think their skills will be suitable.

‘Ideally we would like them to be working at the naval base as part of the shipbuilding operation to continue building ships, but we would like to see them finding work elsewhere if that’s not going to be possible.’