New Cammell Laird contract should benefit local workers
Jun 30 2008 by Ben Schofield, Liverpool Daily Post
MERSEYSIDE’S workers must reap the benefits of Northwestern Shipbuilders and Repairer’s massive new Ministry of Defence contract, Wirral’s decision makers urged last night.
They say local skilled labour should be used instead of Eastern European or short-term contractors.
Wirral Council leader Cllr Steve Foulkes said he hoped workers who had left the industry could trust management to deliver job security. Birkenhead-based Northwestern will announce today they have been awarded a five-year contract worth £180m.
They will be maintain up to a dozen Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships used by the Navy to carry supplies around the world.
And the company is expecting to have the contract extended to 30 years – the total life of the vessels – if they meet quality targets.
That would bring in £1bn of business to the former Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead.
A relaunch later in the year is expected to see the famous Cammell Laird name reinstated.
Labour’s Cllr Foulkes told the Daily Post: “It’s fantastic news, but I would like to see those jobs filled by local people. They shouldn’t be advertising in places like Poland.”
He also said full use should be made of the Lairdside Maritime Centre to “get people back up to speed”. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract represents a huge stamp of approval for the progress made by the shipyard, following the collapse of the business in 2001.
Northwestern have been carrying out some ad hoc contracts for the Royal Navy for several years now, but the new arrangement means the shipyard can rely on a steady flow of work for possibly decades to come.
Birkenhead MP Frank Field, who lobbied to get the contract, said last night the yard saw off competition from six other outfits to secure the deal.
Prior to this contract, the largest MoD deal, signed in January, 2007, was worth £28m. Mr Field said that kind of work had meant short-term cont- racts were the norm, giv- ing workers little job security.