An order for 1,700 tonnes of steelwork from Harland & Wolff in Belfast could help stave off closure of Kvaerner’s Govan yard.
Up to 1,200 jobs will go at Govan unless it wins new shipbuilding contracts. The company’s order book will dry up by July.
Unions hope to win business later in the year from the MoD, and are lobbying MPs for support. ‘We’re optimistic we can keep the yard open,’ said Jimmy McFall, secretary of the joint shop stewards committee. ‘The Belfast order and other small work from Kvaerner’s Norwegian yard could tide us over until MoD work comes on stream.’
Earlier this month, Kvaerner confirmed that Govan had lost out on an order for a British Antarctic survey vessel which would have kept the yard busy for the rest of this year. Scottish Industry Minister Lord MacDonald and union representatives met Kvaerner’s recently appointed chief executive Kjell Almskog in London this week.
MacDonald said they had a ‘frank and open discussion’ of Kvaerner’s problems and the tough trading conditions facing shipyards. ‘We underlined our belief in a viable future for a shipyard which is able to compete with any in the industry,’ he said. It was also announced that Kvaerner is to undertake a major review of all its operations in the next few weeks.
Unions at BP in Grangemouth say some volunteers have come forward for voluntary redundancy.
Last week BP announced that it was cutting 400 of the 2,500 jobs at the site, largely as a result of the slump in oil prices. BP’s management has agreed to the TGWU’s new ‘partnership agreement’ at Grangemouth. BP withdrew collective bargaining rights at the site in 1995.
The new agreement, a result of the new Fairness at Work Act, will open the way for negotiations between management and unions on various employment issues.