Glasgow & West Scotland

BAE Systems: Reaction to shipyard job losses

BAE Systems images
Image caption The Govan and Scotstoun yards employ about 3,200 people and help support hundreds of jobs at suppliers

The loss of hundreds of jobs at BAE Systems' Scottish yards has been described as a "dreadful blow".

The defence contractor confirmed that about 800 jobs would be cut at its yards at Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, and Rosyth in Fife.

The firm said 940 staff posts and 170 agency workers will go at the Portsmouth site, which will retain repairs and maintenance work.

Union shop steward Jamie Webster told the waiting press outside Govan that he remained resolute and would face the cuts head-on.

The yards at Govan and Scotstoun are currently working on a major aircraft carrier contract which is due to finish in 2015.

It is hoped that a contract for new Type 26 Global Combat ships will go to the yards. BAE systems has unveiled a proposed contract for the manufacture of three offshore patrol vessels, which would help support shipbuilding until work begins on the new frigates.

Jamie Webster, convener of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions at the Govan yard

"Obviously it's not a good day for the Clyde and for colleagues in Portsmouth. It's a disastrous day and my heart goes out to them.

"We are going to have further detailed discussions with the company next week in England and we've told the workforce that and asked them to be patient with us.

"It's not the first time we've faced adversity but we'll come through this bruised but not beaten.

"We're in for a difficult two years but we won't be doing a runner. We didn't fight for a decade to get youngsters a job to just throw that in now."

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

"800 job losses is a devastating blow for the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde and the broader Scottish economy. The Scottish government will be working very closely with the company and with the trade unions, firstly to minimise the number of job losses, but also to work very hard with those affected to help them into alternative employment.

"I do think today is a wake-up call when it comes to thinking about the long-term future of the shipbuilding industry in Scotland - even with the Type 26 contracts, we're seeing a significant downsizing of the industry on the Clyde, and the Type 26 is the last of the guaranteed MoD work.

"We need to think long and hard about how we have a shipbuilding industry that is partly based on naval procurement but not solely based on naval procurement - there must be more done to boost exports, there must be more done to diversify.

"Norway built more than 100 ships last year, so there can and there must be a secure future for Clyde shipbuilding, but we need to think differently about how we secure that for the longer term."

Labour Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council

"This is a dreadful blow to a highly-skilled and dignified workforce.

"However, there clearly remains a sustainable future for shipbuilding on the Clyde for decades to come.

"I have today spoken to both trade union officials and BAE. I've been assured that additional orders will come to the Clyde to cover the period after the work on the carriers ends, and that Glasgow is best placed to build the Type-26 frigates.

"The consultation between trade unions and BAE management in the coming days will be crucial and I have instructed council officers to be on standby to offer any support we can over the coming weeks and months to help those workers and families affected."

Prime Minister David Cameron in the Commons

"These are extremely difficult decisions and our first thoughts should be with all of those that are affected.

"We want our Royal Navy to have the best and most modern ships and the best technology. That means we will go on building warships on the Clyde, we will be announcing three new offshore patrol vessels, keeping that yard busy rather than paying for it to remain idle as the last government proposed.

"In Portsmouth, yes there will be job reductions, but there are many more people involved in ship servicing than in ship building, so the workforce will go from 12,000 to 11,000."

In his response to the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson, he added: "No-one should be in any doubt of two things: under this government we will have aircraft carriers, Type 45 destroyers, the new frigates, the hunter-killer submarines.

"And there's something else they should know: if there was an independent Scotland, we wouldn't have any warships at all."

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce

"Our politicians should be working together to support the workforce and the business to move forward in what is a highly competitive, worldwide market.

"Although the loss of jobs is of a very significant scale, it is clear that BAE Systems foresee an important future for shipbuilding in Glasgow and we must all work towards securing the maximum possible economic benefit for Scotland."

Scottish Conservative leader and Glasgow MSP Ruth Davidson

"The workforce in Glasgow is skilled and loyal and their professionalism must be recognised.

"The aircraft carrier project was one of the Royal Navy's biggest and as a private company, BAE Systems needed to ensure that once that project was completed, new orders could be found so that jobs could be retained.

"I am pleased a contract for three new Offshore Patrol Vessels has been awarded to BAE Systems today and will be built on the Clyde.

"This should bridge the gap between the carrier project ending and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship being built, ensuring that skills are retained and both Scotstoun and Govan yards are secured for the future.

"Glasgow will remain the UK's shipbuilding capital."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

"Even though this is not a surprise it is still a difficult day for Portsmouth and those who will lose their jobs in Scotland.

"It has been concluded for some time that only one yard would be required and could be afforded after the construction of the aircraft carriers. The experts know that the Clyde has outstanding facilitates and workforce to fulfil that role."

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael

"The announcement today was the best available news. The size of the Clyde workforce was always going to peak with the aircraft carrier work. By providing new MoD orders for the Clyde in the gap before the Type 26 frigate work begins we are putting the yards on a sustainable footing. We are also ensuring that the skills of the workforce are retained.

'I fully understand however that it is still a very difficult time for the families of those workers who face the possibility of losing their job.

'It is a tribute to all of those in Govan and Scotstoun that the commercial decision has been made to make the Clyde the home of British naval shipbuilding."

Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran

"I welcome the assurances provided by the Secretary of State for Scotland in response to my question in the House of Commons earlier that he will work with any party to find a solution in the best interests of Scotland.

"Now is the time to work together with the trade unions and management in Scotland's best interests, and to put party politics aside.

"The award of the contracts for the three Offshore Patrol Vehicles today is testament to the skills of the workforce on the Clyde and a vote of confidence in the future of these yards."

Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary

"This very disappointing announcement will inevitably exacerbate the worry and stress workers and their families were already experiencing as they considered their job security post completion of the carriers. The loss of skilled, well-paid manufacturing jobs is also a major blow to the Glasgow economy at a time when its employment rate is fully 20% below Scotland's best performing regions."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites