Govan still under threat

Vessel fitting-out work fails to lift jobs gloom as Clydeside yard loses MoD order

Kvaerner Govan has secured extra fitting-out work on a satellite launch vessel under construction at the Clydeside yard. But the layoff of 500 workers will go ahead unless more work is found.

Last week the yard failed to win a crucial £200m Ministry of Defence order for two fast fleet tankers.

Paul Emberley, spokesman for the Kvaerner parent company in London, said: `We shall need to start to make those redundancies, assuming we don’t get other work, in May or June, peaking at up to 500 by the end of the year.’

On Tuesday, the workers at the yard unanimously backed what they said was a management survival plan and accepted the firm would need to restructure in collaboration with the unions.

Davie Cooper, trade union convenor, said that if workers were laid off under any restructuring, the AEEU and GMB want to ensure an adequate package was offered.

Kvaerner Govan is now fitting out the Sealaunch assembly and command vessel for parent company Kvaerner, which has a 20% stake in the Sealaunch Consortium. The ship was launched in December and was to leave the yard by July, but will now remain until October. Kvaerner is also building a chemical tanker to be completed in March 1998.

The firm said that the shipyard management was `meeting to discuss a way forward for the yard’ and was `still in discussions regarding the restructuring activities’.

Labour MP Ian Davidson said it `simply defies belief’ that VSEL’s winning the oiler contract was not linked to its success in winning a £2bn nuclear submarine order.

Cooper called for a National Audit Office investigation into the way contracts like VSEL’s are won.

GEC subs deal, page 4