The global UK defence and security company BAE Systems has announced there will be huge job cuts across its 3 UK shipyards, including locally in Portsmouth. It is expected that some employees will be taken on to work on a specific major contract, but it isn’t clear which yard the work will take place at.
Recent work on aircraft carriers with the company has been finalised, and there is no longer the need for these extra jobs. The costs to complete this work have been huge, so the company is having to reduce its overheads in other areas, which is the main reason for the job losses. Work on the aircraft carriers is scheduled until 2015, so although job losses have been announced, some employees won’t be affected until this time. The government has revealed it will be spending more money on carriers, however none of the work will take place at either of Glasgow’s yards.
The Portsmouth yard employs over a 1000 workers, but is not yet clear how many of these employees will be affected by the cuts. The MOD are liaising with BAE to cover all options and consider the most effective ways to ensure the work will be completed in the future. Public concerns are for the future of the shipbuilding industry, and they are keen to learn what the company and the government are to propose. Employees are inevitably worried about their future with the company and are pushing to know sooner rather than later what the plans are. It has been suggested that work may be moved to the south west of England, where core costs and wages are lower. Meanwhile, Portsmouth council has advised it will do everything in its power to prevent as many job losses as possible at the Portsmouth shipyard.
It is now just a waiting game for employees of BAE Systems, who continue to do their jobs with an obvious air of uncertainty and speculation. What’s important right now is employees, their families and getting some definitive answers about their future from BAE.