Shipyard announces 100 redundancies despite workers offering to take cut

Shipyard announces 100 redundancies despite workers offering to take cut

Birkenhead based Cammell Laird shipyards have announced that they will be making around 100 redundancies, due to the drop off in contracts and to reduce costs. However, joint unions GMB and Unite are working together to speak with shipyard bosses in an attempt to avoid workers losing their jobs. Last November Cammell Laird won their bid to build the Arctic survey ship worth around £200m and union leaders are arguing that it is better to retain the highly skilled workers instead of sacking them. Workers are even offering to take a cut in their working week up until the point work starts on the new project to help reduce costs for the shipyard bosses.

Albie McGuigan, GMB regional officer, said:

“This announcement is a shock to the joint trade unions and devastating news to the workers and we believe that the 30-day minimum consultation period is not enough time to deal with the consequences of this decision and it should be extended.”

“To date only one formal meeting has taken place on the 18th of April. At that meeting GMB registered its disagreement with their decision based on the fact that the yard will soon start construction of its biggest project in many years. After a mass meeting of members, the unions have offered to reduce costs for the company over the next few months by agreeing to cut two hours from the working week until the new project is started, or for them to suggest an alternative that will avoid compulsory redundancies.”

“So far, no progress has been made and if we don’t get an agreement, notices of termination will be issued on the 11th May.”

As you can imagine this is a very worrying time for the workers involved.

For years, shipyard workers have been subject to working in tough conditions. Unfortunately, many shipyard workers have developed work related conditions and industrial diseases because of their lack of protection whilst working within the industry. Noise Induced Hearing Loss, Dermatitis, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and Asbestosis/Mesothelioma are some of the common industrial diseases workers experience. Although health and safety has improved over the past 20 – 30 years, workers past and present can still suffer from some of the aforementioned industrial diseases.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise is widespread within the shipyards and it is considered one of the noisiest working environments to work in. Loud job tasks such as drilling, outfitting, descaling and electroplating are just some of the tasks that can contribute to workers potentially suffering from hearing loss if they weren’t provided with the correct PPE.

Some of the symptoms:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Turning the TV/Radio up
  • Struggling with background noise


Shipyard workers suffering from Dermatitis are common. Painters or fabricators who work in the industry can at times be exposed to certain chemicals used throughout their various tasks.

Some of the symptoms:

  • Redness/dryness to the skin
  • Cracked/bleeding to the skin
  • Flaking skin
  • Oozing sores/cuts

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Shipyard workers who perform drilling tasks using hand help vibration tools for long periods of time and without taking the necessary precautions, can develop symptoms of hand arm vibration syndrome otherwise known as vibration white finger.

Some of the symptoms:

  • Tingling to the fingers
  • Whiteness to the skin
  • Pains in cold weather
  • Problems with picking up small objects
  • Loss of sensation in fingers


Even today, asbestos can be found in the construction of most ships. Shipyard workers who manufacture ships or are usually in close proximity of these ships are often exposed to high levels of asbestos. This exposure can lead to potentially harmful or deadly diseases such as pleural plaques, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Some of the symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Exercise is difficult
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing difficulties most of the time

Roberts Jackson Solicitors are experts in dealing with industrial disease cases where people have developed a condition due to their work during their employment in the shipyard industry. If you have suffered any of the aforementioned industrial diseases, it may be possible to make a claim. We provide a No Win No Fee service and you will not have to contribute to any of the costs of the case unless we are successful.

If you would like more information or want to discuss your claim in more detail you can call us on 0800 001 446 or alternatively fill in the call back box found on the right hand side of the page and one of our advisors will call you back at a convenient time for you.

[1] Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird poised to axe 98 jobs
[2] Unions condemn Cammell Laird job losses and call for more time
[3] Hearing loss in shipyard employees
[4] 8 Main Hazards Faced by Shipyard Workers