Redundancies at Appledore shipyard

EIGHTEEN redundancies have been announced at Appledore Shipbuilders. They affect 16 members of the engineering department/drawing office and two from the production staff. The redundancies were the result of a current lack of throughput of work in the en

EIGHTEEN redundancies have been announced at Appledore Shipbuilders.

They affect 16 members of the engineering department/drawing office and two from the production staff.

The redundancies were the result of a current lack of throughput of work in the engineering department, said David McGinley, business development director of parent company Babcock Marine's warships division.

The yard's order book was in reasonable health, with continuation of their aircraft carrier work for the MoD. The first block of work, the bulbous bow section of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, would be floated out on time and to cost at the end of March, he said.

Appledore, which has a total workforce of around 280, will then continue work on other sections of the aircraft carrier - which will be the biggest warship ever built in the UK. The parts will be delivered to Rosyth in Scotland, where the ship is being assembled.

Work on parts of a second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is due to start in Appledore in 2012, securing work there until 2015.

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But following the news of the redundancies Heathcliffe Pettifer, regional officer for the Unite union, voiced concern.

He said he was "deeply disappointed" by the redundancies and shared the pain with members that this news brought.

"We will be working with the management to mitigate the effects," he said.

"But I can't help feeling that members have been misled about the future prospects at Appledore Shipbuilders. This is all happening against the backdrop of a General Election that may result in a Conservative Government, which has made no commitment to further aircraft carriers being built in the UK. Appledore is working on one of two carriers in a project by the MoD. But there is concern that the Conservatives could review that.

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