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30 jobs cut at BAE Williamstown

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Multinational defence contractor BAE Systems has cut 30 jobs from the BAE Williamstown shipyards and warned that more redundancies may follow.

As The Age reports, the company announced yesterday that 30 welding and boilermaking jobs will be cut from the shipyard’s total workforce of 1100. 

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems said the reason for the redundancies was the lack of upcoming work. She said the company has completed its helicopter dock and air warfare destroyer projects and is talking to the federal government about possible future projects.

But she added, "If we don't get more work from the government we will need to assess the staff numbers required for the work that is currently in the yard."

She said that, while the shipyard has secured some commercial contracts, it was primarily a naval shipyard and will need more such work if it is to maintain its current workforce.

According to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the job cuts show the need for certainty around Defence shipbuilding in Australia.

“If decisions are not taken now, the 30 jobs at BAE Systems in Williamstown will only be the tip of the iceberg,” AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian said in a statement.

“We need certainty from the Federal Government over what naval and maritime engineering work will be available for Australian shipyards. If we don’t then workers will leave the industry, and our shipbuilding capacity will decline.”

Bastian added, “The two previous Defence White Papers have recognised that our Navy requires a major fleet turnover in the next 30 years. Those taxpayer dollars should be invested here in the interests of growing jobs and skills and providing our forces with the best equipment.”

BAE Systems has also cut its workforce at three shipyards in the UK. Among these is the company’s shipyard at Portsmouth which will close by the end of 2015. When this happens, the building of warships in Portsmouth will stop for the first time in 500 years.

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