Babcock to cut 150 jobs at Rosyth

Jobs are to go in Rosyth. Picture: TSPL
Jobs are to go in Rosyth. Picture: TSPL
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Babcock at Rosyth is to cut 150 jobs, according to union sources.

Jobs are to go at the shipyard in Fife, the Unite union said, describing it as a “kick in the teeth” for the workforce.

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Assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The men and women whose skills built the UK’s two new world-leading aircraft carriers at Rosyth are at risk of being lost for a generation in a blow to the Scottish economy and UK shipbuilding.

“Today’s announcement of job losses will send shudders down the spine of shipyard workers across the UK who in recent months have endured the threat of redundancy on the Mersey and the closure of Devon’s Appledore shipyard.

“The fear is that these job losses at Rosyth could turn into a flood and the industry left with a yawning skills gap unless the UK Government starts supporting UK Plc by delivering on a shipbuilding strategy that guarantees the Royal Navy’s new auxiliary ships are block built in UK shipyards using British steel, in addition to bringing forward work on the Type 31e frigate for export around the globe.

“It would be a gross betrayal of a skilled workforce and British manufacturing if the government continued with its obsession to award such work to overseas shipyards and deny manufacturing and communities in the UK the economic benefits that building the Royal fleet auxiliary ships would bring.”

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Responding to events, GMB Scotland Organiser and Chair of CSEU Scotland Gary Cook said the redundancies stressed the urgent need for the UK Government to ensure the three Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels were built in British shipyards, including Rosyth.

He said: “The wind down of the aircraft carrier contract creates a vacuum at Rosyth with no significant manufacturing orders on the horizon. Let’s be clear what this means: Peak production at Rosyth sustains over 3,800 jobs and generates over £100 million in wages - that’s what’s on the line.

Maintenance programmes for warships will sustain some levels of employment in future but it’s a feast and famine existence for yards like Rosyth, which needs large-scale shipbuilding to realise its full potential.

Against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, we need our politicians to stand-up for working class shipbuilding communities like Rosyth and they can do this by demanding the UK government award the RFA contracts to British shipyards.”