Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson helps broker a temporary truce between the shipyard and the Unite and GMB unions in an effort to resolve the dispute over 291 planned job cuts. Tony McDonough reports
Merseyside shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird has put its plan to lay off 291 workers on hold after agreeing a temporary peace deal with the Unite and GMB unions.
Following “constructive discussions” facilitated by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, the Birkenhead business will suspend the notices of redundancy to provide a four-week window for further talks.
In return, the unions will call off its industrial action which had seen a series of walkouts and and overtime ban at the shipyard over the past couple of weeks.
The bitter dispute began after Cammell Laird announced it planned to cut the 291 jobs – around 40% of its workforce – by the end of March 2019 as a number of contracts come to an end.
This prompted the industrial action and and war of words between the unions, local campaigners and the company. Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret said the industrial action was costing the company millions of pounds in lost orders and putting more jobs at risk.
However, on Friday afternoon Cammell Laird, Unite and the GMB issued a joint statement, which read: “This agreement provides for a four-week breathing space and paves the way for the establishment of a joint taskforce by the Mayor to involve; Unite and the GMB trade unions, Cammell Laird, Merseyside local authorities and central government departments alongside Cammell Laird customers.
“The agreement recognises the need for the yard to remain competitive in bidding for new and future work and all parties agree to work together to ensure this remains the case. The task force will meet for the first time on Friday, December 7, in an effort to formulate an action plan that secures the future for the yard and its workforce.
“All parties agree that Cammell Laird has a positive future and that short term measures are required to address immediate problems of work flow into the yard.
“The task force will examine every opportunity to bring forward work scheduled for later in 2019 while seeking new work orders and financial assistance for a major up-skilling programme to ensure the skills necessary to compete in a highly competitive market are available from within the local community.
“All parties commit to working constructively and positively during this period to bring about a long-term solution to the current difficulties experienced and remain committed to working together to secure a positive future for a world class shipyard employing a highly skilled workforce from within the local community.”