Naval city in protest over BAE job cuts

A MARCH and rally has been held in a historic naval city to protest at job losses planned by defence giant BAE Systems.

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Unions said they expect a big turnout in Portsmouth following last month's announcement that shipbuilding is to end.

More than 900 jobs will be lost, although Portsmouth will retain repairs and maintenance work. About 830 jobs will also be lost at yards in Govan and Scotstoun, at Rosyth in Fife, and at the firm's Filton office, near Bristol, as a result of a drop in work after the end of aircraft carrier work.

Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: "Portsmouth has a proud 500-year history of shipbuilding. It is a waste and a tragedy that the Government is allowing this legacy to end.

"BAE Systems' workers, their families and the local community are calling on the Government to think again and secure shipbuilding in Portsmouth for another 500 years.

"The Government can generate opportunities to save these valuable shipbuilding jobs and skills."

Earlier this month Glasgow's council leader signalled he would accept the closure of one of two Clyde yards if workers believed it was the best way to protect Glasgow shipbuilding.

Gordon Matheson was speaking after it was revealed BAE Systems was considering investing in a giant "frigate factory" at Scotstoun, spelling the end of shipbuilding in Govan. BAE Systems has made no final decision on the shape of its facilities in Glasgow if, as expected, it wins a contract to build a new generation of Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy.

An announcement is expected next year but the company has two options: build the ships in both yards or invest heavily in a single yard at Scotstoun.

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