'˜Crushing blow' as more than 200 jobs go at Rosyth Dockyard

Hundreds of skilled jobs will be cut at Rosyth Dockyard following the completion of the naval aircraft carriers project, it was announced today.

The second of the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers to be assembled at Rosyth, HMS of Prince of Wales, was officially named in September. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL

Yard owners Babcock said 250 staff would no longer be needed as work is finished on the super carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, a 10-year project which has cost more than £6bn and endured numerous delays.

The defence giant stressed the future outlook for Rosyth remained bright with the prospect of future orders on the horizon.

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But SNP MP Douglas Chapman, whose constituency includes the port town, described the decision as a ‘crushing blow’ for workers.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares to sail from Rosyth dockyard

A Babcock spokesman said: “The prospects for Babcock’s operations at Rosyth remain good. The last ten years of the Queen Elizabeth class carrier programme has been an outstanding success story. Unfortunately, given the one-off nature of this large-scale programme, as the ships begin to be handed over to our customer, we must inevitably reshape our business to remain competitive and take on new challenges, which we firmly believe exist for Rosyth.

“However, medium term opportunities cannot compensate for the 250 or so specific roles and capabilities no longer needed with the slow-down of the QEC work.

“Our employees are our priority throughout this process, we understand how unsettling this news may be and we will work closely with those affected and our trade union representatives through this consultation period to redeploy or relocate as many employees as possible within our wider organisation and support those who wish to take this opportunity to move on.

“We remain committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our workforce that supports both our current and future operational needs. In fact, looking to the future we have recently taken on our yearly intake of apprentices and graduates, underlining our focus of developing and delivering the best solutions in the most effective ways for our customers”.

Mr Chapman said: “Only yesterday I asked the secretary of state for defence at Westminster what reassurances he can give to workers at Rosyth following the departure of the carriers and if he would visit Rosyth. Now - less than 24 hours later- this dreadful news is delivered to dockyard workers. It is deeply worrying that these jobs are lost as the UK Government launches their new industrial strategy.

“The secretary of state said he was ‘incredibly grateful for the amazing work’ the Rosyth workforce have done on the carriers - but people in my constituency cannot live on a Tory minister’s platitudes. They need follow-on contracts and deals, and this latest news underlines the importance of continuing the fight for future Type 31e, fleet auxiliary ships and the other contracts to come to Rosyth.”

He added: “In the meantime, I will be following up on yesterday’s parliamentary question and ask him to join me in Rosyth to ascertain exactly what work can come to Rosyth so we do not lose any more of the skills, talent and dedication of the workforce here in West Fife.”