Easdale brothers in bid to save Ferguson Shipbuilders

The Easdale brothers have expressed an interest in saving Ferguson Shipbuilders.

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The Port Glasgow shipbuilder went into receivership last week, with the loss of 70 jobs.

The McGill's Buses owners, who are also shareholders and directors of Rangers Football Club, say they have now contacted administrators hope to help save the shipbuilder.

Sandy Easdale said: "We have contacted the administrators, KPMG, through our accountants. This is a highly skilled workforce and it is a vital business for our area. With Government assistance, both in Edinburgh and London, I am sure we can secure orders."

GMB said workers were told they were being made redundant with immediate effect when they turned up for work at the yard in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde last Friday. Only seven workers have been retained as a skeleton staff while the receivers try to find a buyer.

GMB official Alex Logan said staff were "shocked and stunned" to lose their jobs at a yard that dates back to 1902 and in a community on the Lower Clyde once famed for its shipbuilding industry.

The announcement provoked a powerful attack from a senior union official against the First Minister.

Jim Moohan, chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions (CSEU) in Scotland and GMB Scotland senior organiser, said that there had been concerns for some time about the amount of work on the yard's books and that more should have been done to safeguard the yard's future.

He said: "This is the end of commercial shipbuilding in Scotland. The yard has struggled for work for a number of years now and the Scottish government gave us an assurance that the work would be there and the yard would survive.

"There was a personal commitment from the First Minister that the workforce would be protected and that work would remain. This is a scandal and Alex Salmond should deliver a personal apology to each and every one of these men today."

Mr Moohan said he met Keith Brown MSP, the Minister for Transport, on Wednesday and the future of Fergusons's had been discussed, but there was no hint that receivership was on the horizon.

He said that it was now vital that any work be brought forward and given to the yard, and that the Scottish Government should disregard European Union rules on tendering for large contracts to ensure that shipbuilding remained in operation on the lower Clyde.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said a task force was being set up to look at securing new opportunities for the yard.

"The loss of any jobs in Port Glasgow is a devastating blow and we will work closely with the administrator to deliver an integrated service to those losing their jobs," he said.

"We will also convene a task force which will aim to secure new opportunities for this commercial shipyard on the Clyde. I have spoken to the leader of the council and we have agreed to work together on the task force to secure these opportunities. I will visit Port Glasgow on Monday to start this process.

"The yard facilities, along with the expertise and experience of the workforce, are significant assets. The Scottish Government and partners have a strong track record of engagement in the local area to secure employment.

"Over the past two and a half years we has supported Ferguson Shipbuilders with contracts worth more than £20 million for two new hybrid ferries.

"We will do everything we can to promote a strong future for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde and remain hopeful that a new owner can be found to continue the proud tradition and innovative engineering of Ferguson Shipbuilders."

Local government

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