Frank Field MP
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A battle is under way to save 220 jobs at Cammell Laird’s shipyard


A battle is under way to save 220 jobs at Cammell Laird’s shipyard.

The leader of the council, Phil Davies, and I called a meeting last week with Wirral’s MPs to come up with a plan of action to support Cammell Laird. We were briefed at the meeting by union stewards representing those workers whose jobs are at risk.

We are seeking a meeting now with John Syvret, the head of Cammell Laird, to get a report back on how successful his team have been in bidding for new contracts to mitigate these 220 potential lost jobs.

But while necessary in the short term, a successful bid in itself will not be enough to prevent similar risks in future. In the longer term, therefore, we need a serious programme which ensures a level playing field on two fronts: between Cammell Laird and Europe, and between Cammell Laird and the mega-warship yards that can undercut them.

The current system allows some yards to bid both for defence and commercial contracts. These yards are able to use the sky-high rates charged for contracts with the MoD to subsidise cheaper rates for maintenance contracts.

Other yards, such as Cammell Laird, who are only able to bid directly for the maintenance contracts, obviously stand to lose from this emerging arrangement.

I am therefore seeking a meeting for Wirral’s MPs with defence ministers, in an attempt to persuade them to reform the system so it doesn’t unfairly punish Birkenhead’s workers.

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