‘Inefficient and uncompetitive’ shipyard axing 178 jobs

Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird is to axe 178 jobs due to a downturn in work, it said this afternoon.

The shipbuilder and repairer has already opened talks with affected staff, it said, adding that several senior managers have already left the business.

It follows a review of the business which concluded that it is employing “too many people”.

In a statement issued by the yard, it said it needs to “modernise and develop processes, procedures, and governance, which will make the business fit for the future.”

And it declared: “Currently the business is inefficient and uncompetitive.”

The statement added: “The new management team is absolutely committed to bringing about the essential changes that will ensure Cammell Laird is able to meet the demand of current and future customers.

“By conducting this process now, we will secure the employment of the remaining workforce.

“Equally, we can support the many hundreds of jobs which exist in our supply chain.”

“Just as importantly, we can continue to develop our award-winning apprenticeship scheme, and offer vital opportunities to local young people and adult apprentices, helping to develop essential skills for the future.”

The company said it will work with trade unions during the consultation period, and will aim to achieve as many voluntary redundancies as possible to try and minimise the risk of compulsory redundancies.

It admitted: “We fully understand that this news will have a major impact on employees and their families that will be affected.

“However, we firmly believe that action taken now will ensure that Cammell Laird is agile, sustainable, and profitable.

“Equally, we will be able to deliver our current contracts and bid competitively for future work.”

In January the yard announced it had secured a new four-year contract with one of the UK’s largest ferry operators for the annual maintenance and dry docking of five large vessels in its fleet.

CalMac Ferries awarded Laird the contract with the option to extend it for two further one-year periods.