Unions call for a halt to Portsmouth shipyard redundancies

The BAE Systems completed 'Lower Block 05' 2nd half section of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at Portsmouth Naval Base is moved into place to be put on a barge  Picture: Paul Jacobs (121452-5) ENGPPP00120120424145042
The BAE Systems completed 'Lower Block 05' 2nd half section of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at Portsmouth Naval Base is moved into place to be put on a barge Picture: Paul Jacobs (121452-5) ENGPPP00120120424145042
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TRADE unions are calling on the government to intervene and stop any more redundancies being made at the city’s shipyard.

Union leaders continue to campaign for the retention of naval shipbuilding in Portsmouth, and are now demanding the job loss programme is suspended and skilled workers kept on while alternative uses for the yard are being looked at.

It comes after the unions – Prospect, GMB, Unite, and UCATT – met minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon last week.

Union members repeated their belief that the plan to make people redundant should be put on hold until the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum is known.

John Ferrett, a negotiations officer for the Prospect union, said: ‘I challenged the minister directly to approach BAE Systems and call on them to halt the redundancy programme.

‘Michael Fallon said he would do this, but continued to stress it was for the company to decide when people should be made redundant.

‘However, the unions pointed out that it would be madness to effectively close the yard by September just at the point where Scotland may vote for independence.

‘The unions, while welcoming the prospect of new businesses that would utilise the skills and capabilities of shipyard workers, expressed the view that these would only be viable propositions if there was a workforce ready to transfer into these businesses.

‘For that reason, we believe the government and BAE Systems should find a way to retain as many workers as possible until the future use of the shipbuilding facility has been determined.’

BAE Systems announced in November last year that it would put an end to its shipbuilding operations in Portsmouth, moving them to Scotland.

The move would see the loss of 940 jobs.