Uncertainty over Portsmouth dockyard as fresh job cuts revealed

An aerial photograph of Portsmouth Dockyard
An aerial photograph of Portsmouth Dockyard
  • Fresh wave of job losses at dockyard sparks uncertainty over future of the city’s facility
  • Highbury College and BAE Systems among companies cutting staff at the site
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A MOOD of ‘great uncertainty’ has hit Portsmouth’s dockyard after a fresh wave of jobs cuts were revealed.

Defence giant BAE Systems has axed 20 staff from its books while Highbury College has made a number of its engineering lecturers in the facility redundant.

The mood in the office is that of great uncertainty of the future in Portsmouth

Source within BAE Systems

The move has frustrated campaigners opposed to job losses in the complex.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the former council leader and head of the city’s Liberal Democrat party, said this was the latest blow for Portsmouth.

It comes in the wake of prime minister David Cameron’s decision to scrap shipbuilding in the city – with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

‘I’m incredibly disappointed to hear this news,’ said Cllr Vernon-Jackon.

‘The prime minister promised he would bring shipbuilding back to Portsmouth.

‘Well yet again, this is another example of how that promise has been broken.’

The move to axe 20 jobs within BAE was revealed after a tip-off from a source close to the defence company.

The source, whose identity is being protected by The News, claimed the cuts had come as a huge blow.

‘The mood in the office is that of great uncertainty over the future in Portsmouth,’ the source claimed.

Responding, BAE said the jobs that had been cut were of agency staff.

An official at the company stressed none of BAE’s core staff had been axed.

The spokesman said the move had to be taken following a dip in work as a result of last month’s defence review, which saw the government agree to build two new offshore patrol vessels ahead of production of the Type 26.

‘As a result, our current engineering workload has lightened, and we are releasing some agency resource in line with the change in demand,’ the spokesman said.

The job losses come as Highbury College revealed it was making lecturers working with apprentice boat builders in the Historic Dockyard redundant.

However, the college refused to confirm how many jobs had been axed despite repeated calls from The News.

But it did say ‘difficult decisions’ had been taken and it was working to secure the future of the apprentices hit.

‘We are committed to listening to the needs of the marine industry and will be reviewing the situation,’ a spokeswoman added.

Earlier this month BAE accepted a new £13.5m contract this month to build 60 new rigid inflatable boats for the navy.