‘Inefficient’ Cammell Laird to lay off 178 workers

Shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird is cutting 178 people from its Birkenhead workforce and admits it is ‘inefficient and uncompetitive’. Tony McDonough reports

Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead. Picture by Tony McDonough


Merseyside shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird is cutting 178 jobs from its 722-strong workforce and admits its current business model is “inefficient and uncompetitive”.

Birkenhead-based Cammell Laird has recently completed the building of the £200m polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough, but says it is currently has too little work for the number of people it employs. It says it is hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Maintenance contracts the firm currently has on its books include a long-term agreement to service the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels and in January it won a five year contract to service the five-strong fleet of one of the UK’s largest ferry operators, CalMac Ferries.

In a statement, Cammell Laird said a number of its senior management team had already departed from the business. It added: “A full review of our business has revealed that we have an enduring downturn of workload and we are employing too many people.

“The business needs to modernise and develop processes, procedures, and governance, which will make the business fit for the future. Currently the business is inefficient and uncompetitive. The new management team is absolutely committed to bringing about the essential changes that will ensure Cammell Laird is able to meet the demand of current and future customers.

Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird says it is committed to continuing its apprenticeship programme


“By conducting this process now, we will secure the employment of the remaining workforce. Equally, we can support the many hundreds of jobs which exist in our supply chain. Just as importantly, we can continue to develop our award-winning apprenticeship scheme, and offer vital opportunities to local young people and adult apprentices.”

In May 2020, Cammell Laird’s long-serving chief executive, John Syvret, stepped down from his role and was replaced by David McGinley. Tony Graham has also stepped down from his role as chief operating officer with at the same time.

Cammell Laird has now entered a 45 day period of consultation with its employees and the trade unions on the site. Its aim is to make as many voluntary redundancies as possible, minimising the risk of compulsory redundancy.

The statement added: “We fully understand that this news will have a major impact on employees and their families that will be affected. However, we firmly believe that action taken now, will ensure that Cammell Laird is agile, sustainable, and profitable. Equally, we will be able to deliver our current contracts and bid competitively for future work.”

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