Union pledges to fight 58 job cuts at Hebburn shipyard

YARD TROUBLE ... the A&P yard at Hebburn.
YARD TROUBLE ... the A&P yard at Hebburn.

PLANS to axe 58 jobs at a South Tyneside-based shipyard could endanger the future of the core workforce there, a trade union leader has warned.

Hebburn-based ship repair and conversion specialist A&P Tyne says shedding the jobs is necessary to secure the long-term viability of the yard.

We are very concerned that the company is still using agency workers on contracts, when our members’ full-time jobs are under threat.

Dave Telford, Unite

The company has now entered a 30-day consultation period with trade unions and elected employee representatives.

Officials of the Unite and GMB unions met with A&P Tyne management yesterday to discuss the proposals.

Unite regional officer Dave Telford said he would be working to reduce the number of planned job cuts, with further talks with management to reconvene next Tuesday.

He said: “We expressed our concern at the number of cuts to the core workforce and the consequences of that to the workforce thereafter.

“We are very concerned that the company is still using agency workers on contracts, when our members’ full-time jobs are under threat.

“We remain in consultation and we will be looking to mitigate the number of redundancies and certainly to avoid any compulsory redundancies.”

A spokesman for the firm said: “A&P Tyne has entered into a period of consultation during which it will review the number of people employed at its site in Hebburn.

“The reduction in workforce is part of a restructure at A&P Tyne that will enable the business to remain competitive in a challenging, global marketplace.

“A&P Tyne needs to respond to peaks and troughs in demand.

“Ship repair work is subject to fluctuation and the restructuring will ensure that staffing costs adjust to tally with fluctuating ship-repair income, to secure the future viability of the yard.”

In November 2014, workers at the Wagonway Road yard completed work on 3,500 tonnes of parts for the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier, on behalf of BAE Systems.

A&P said the Royal Navy contract, the biggest in the firm’s history, had provided a “massive boost”, with more than 400 people devoted to working on the project.

The Tyneside yard also secured £3m of work from BAE Systems to make submarine sections, and in March A&P saw the oil and gas support vessel Bibby Polaris arrive in Hebburn for a 10-day dry-docking for repairs.

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